Those of us who are privileged to work in the network marketing industry do so because, beyond all the other reasons we might have, it gives us the satisfaction of having done something positive in the world. We produce products that help humanity and provide a means for people everywhere to earn a good living by helping others. Few industries on earth can make the same claim.

This also means that we have the opportunity--and the responsibility--to use our corporate citizenship in ways that effect essential change. It is our role and our duty to take on our most formidable social problems. We must raise the questions and explore some underlying assumptions about personal and societal values and beliefs.

As leaders, we can and should make an active effort to promote human welfare--beyond the bounds of our businesses and their profitability.

The dictionary defines philanthropy as "goodwill to fellowmen," a broad understanding that goes beyond simply donating money to worthy causes, as the definition is usually used. Now philanthropy is also about investing our time, our passion and our energies in the cause of social change.

Those of us who focus in the area of health and nutritional supplementation have a special responsibility to make sure our products are bettering humanity on a myriad of health fronts. In many cases, we are offering natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, drugs which may cause side effects and are certainly expensive. As industry leaders, we also fight the forces that would eradicate the hard-won freedom consumers now enjoy because of the enactment of DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act); and we educate and empower the public to take control of their health without an over-dependence on pharmaceutical drugs.

We can also work on the local and national political front by supporting those candidates and government leaders who best support people's rights to free enterprise and allow them to purchase the products they have come to depend upon.

Every network marketing company has its own culture and priorities; the hundreds of thousands of men and women who make up our great networking community look to each and every one of us to stand up, reach out and make a difference--with your voice, your pocketbook, your energies and your heart.

You and the companies you represent can be a powerful philanthropic force in the world. You can stand up for the social causes that resonate with you and those in your organization. You can rally staff and distributors alike to speak out for worthy causes. In ours, the most caring industry of all, we can all afford to think outside the limitations of our profitability and use our networks of caring people to change the world.

DON KARN
is a long-time corporate officer in network marketing and serves on the
Board of Directors of Gabriel Media Group, Inc., publishers of Networking Times.