When I decided to give back to the community by starting P5 Protocol, a nonprofit mentoring program, I didn’t have the time, the resources or the means. I didn’t know how it was going to work. But I knew it was needed, and I knew that if I had the will to do it, I would find a way.
That will to make it happen came from my upbringing. I had plenty of challenges growing up. My father left when I was young, and I was the eleventh of 13 children, so every day was a struggle to survive. But despite being raised by a single mom who didn’t have much “wealth” in the material sense, she still taught us the importance of love, support, compassion—having each other’s backs. And that’s what drives me to do what I do.
Find a Cause That You Identify With
If you’re at the point of even considering adding some kind of nonprofit element to your business, you’ve got to pick something that really deeply matters to you. It has to be a cause you’re passionate about, because that’s what will motivate you to get it going.
For me, I’ve seen so many kids who grow up disadvantaged think that this is all they can expect in life, and I just feel so strongly that someone needs to let them know it’s not. They need that encouragement to believe there are other things out there and they can pave their own way. I was fortunate enough to have people who invested in my life and cared enough to teach me to think bigger. Just that little bit of time and redirecting can make a major difference in a child’s life.
Run Your Nonprofit As a Companion to Your Business
Of course, as a business owner, adding a nonprofit element has tangible benefits, too. For me, it gives me credibility in the community, and makes families feel safe bringing their children to my gym facility, ATT Evolution. In a way, they work hand-in-hand: ATT Evolution gives me the financial platform and base for the longevity I need to run the nonprofit side of things, which in turn gives companies and organizations a reason to see me as a source of positive influence, helping my business.
The nonprofit work will build your brand, but of course that should be more like a bonus than your primary motivation. It’s really my passion and what I take pleasure in doing. Some people assume that fighting is my life, but talking to youngsters, mentoring, repaying—that’s my interest. More than that: It will be my last job, and I truly look forward to it!
Tyron Woodley is a paid endorser of MINDBODY.