By Amir Khoshnevis, OD
In business, giving is truly receiving. Participating in charitable giving is an important aspect of any business, and even more sofor healthcare providers like optometrists. It speaks to your greater purpose, and patients reciprocate by forming stronger emotional commitments to compassionate caregivers.
When you ask yourself what your greater purpose isin optometry, do you say to yourself thatit is simply to earn a living, or is it to help people see? If your purpose is giving sight, then why should that mission be limited to just your own patients? Charities exist today that enable you to help improve vision across the country, and even the world. Optometry Giving Sight (www.givingsight.org) is one such charity. This organization, which recently honored me as its 2011 Philanthropist of the Year, works tirelessly to deliver eyecare to impoverished areas of the world byconducting free clinics and fitting the presumed “blind” with eyeglasses that enable them to see and function. The work done to date by OGS has not only yielded incredible results by saving thousands from unfathomable loss of functional life, but it has created a generation of local leaders and doctors in these countries in order to prevent the same injustice for generations to come. My work on behalf of OGS has been as a donor and fundraiser, but my next philanthropic goal is to serve on a mission.
A culture of giving creates an emotional tie between your community and your practice. Patients are more likely to stay loyal to your practice if they believe you serve a greater purpose than just fitting them with eyeglasses or providing them withcontact lenses. Taking an active role in supporting charities will also inspire your staff. Like your patients, your employees are more likely to stick with you, and work harder for you, if they believe that your practice is trying to achieve something greater than simply meeting your financial goals. The charitable work you do gives staff a cultural, big picture sense of what you–and they–are working towards.
Giving to charities is empowering to you as a doctor and to your staff. When you make someone’s life better across the world, you, and your entire practice, have a sense that “I’ve done more than expected. I feel a sense of pride.” That sense of having made a selfless contribution is infectious. Your patients won’t be able to keep from noticing, and your practice will grow.
Want to read more about success in business by serving a greater purpose? Read these three books: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Good To Great by Jim Collins, and Peak by Chip Conley. Be warned, you will be changed.
Do you have a great story to share about your practice culture or giving to the greater community? Share with us how your practice has made a difference locally or across the globe.
Amir Khoshnevis, OD, founded Carolina Family Eye Care in 2003. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and is a member of several optometric associations. He is a presenter at AOA and SECO. Dr. Khoshnevis has a strong interest in specialty contact lenses and has built a medical co-management contact lens practice as well as a clinical investigation site for specialty lenses. To contact him:email@example.com.