Practicing Generosity Inside and Out

Sarah Cohn Facilitating


“That’s what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.”
― Simone de Beauvoir


Practicing generosity is a core value for Aurora. How can a business be generous? We don’t completely know the answer but we know practicing generosity is right because we feel fulfilled when we do it.

In this post, we’ll give you greater insight into ways we practice generosity daily and why generosity is so important to us. We’re excited to share our other core values in our next two posts, too.

Sarah and Al have worked together in and for the nonprofit sector for years, first with Science Museum of Minnesota and now with Aurora.  About a year ago, we created Aurora’s three core values in a process that felt more like reaffirming than redefining. Looking back, it’s clear these values have been embedded in our approach to consulting for some time now. We’re proud of the outcome: Our core values reflect our vision of ourselves and the way we serve our clients. And, we are energized when we find clients with similar values. 


Investing in Relationships

When we practice generosity, a key action is investing in relationships. When we take the extra time to connect with our clients as people, we want to do our best for them each day. In every interaction, we try to get to know our clients better as the individuals they are beyond being our partners in work. These relationships are why we like the work we do at Aurora. Strategic planning, org development, and evaluation are all things we enjoy, but it’s the people of the nonprofit sector who motivate us.

One of Aurora’s early clients is still our valued client today. They’re the kind of people who keep us energized, so it feels comfortable investing in this relationship. A smaller nonprofit, this client helps students from immigrant families adapt to and thrive in Minnesota’s public schools. They’re passionate about their advocacy work, and they’ve called on Aurora over the years to help them develop their organization. As their partner, we’ve steadily helped fill in gaps, plan for expansion, and overcome challenges. Along the way, we’ve also provided different support, like paving connections in the community through introductions, and being a sounding board for frustrations and solutions. They know Aurora is just a phone call away, whenever they’d like to talk about an issue or a new idea.

Practicing generosity has led our relationship to grow. It’s prompted one of this client’s leaders to say with a smile, “You are a good friend. You truly are trying to help us.”


Volunteering in the Sector

Volunteer service is another way we practice generosity. When we volunteer, we give and grow. We strive to immerse ourselves in the nonprofit sector through board leadership service. Our commitments are long-term and strategic to create greater impact. We each have a long history of volunteer involvement in the Twin Cities, and we actively seek board membership to authentically live our core value.

Volunteering is something we believe in because it enriches our community. It also enriches each of us by offering different perspectives and fresh learning. We’ve found it’s a great way to make new friends in the nonprofit sector, too.

Currently, Sarah is Vice Chair of the Board for One Voice Mixed Chorus, one of the nation’s largest LGBT and straight allies (LGBTA) choral organizations. One Voice performs in the Twin Cities and around the state, advocating for LGBTA communities wherever they go. Sarah joined One Voice nearly 10 years ago as a singer, and though she left due to the demands of work and school, she continued to attend their concerts. At a performance earlier this year, Sarah felt drawn to re-engage with One Voice and the timing was perfect. She joined as a board member and Secretary, and has stepped up to facilitate One Voice’s strategic planning process and take on the Board Vice Chair role as the organization heads toward its 30th anniversary.


Working with a Smile

We can practice generosity inside and out well because our other guiding values support it. As we’ve discovered, practicing generosity works best when you practice leading with honesty, humility and joy as you work collaboratively to achieve a common goal. Read our other articles about these values.

We leave you with a seven-day challenge: Give yourself a week to consider what practicing generosity in your daily work looks like. Try doing it more often, and actively take note. How does it affect the way you feel at the end of your work day?

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.