In addition to helping you do more for your community by giving back, at HeartPress, we’re here to motivate you through the stories of local businesspeople who are already doing incredible good. We’re so pleased to start off this Giving Back feature series with a truly inspiring individual: Al Hasham.
Al is the co-owner of three BC businesses: Maximum Express Courier, Freight & Logistics; Max Furniture; and Cambria College. In 2017, he is also serving as the Chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber. But despite the demands of his commitments, this busy entrepreneur still finds time – an incredible amount of time, really – to give back to the city he calls home.
Giving on the Ground Level
When Maximum Express was just starting out, Al never shied away from doing all he could for charitable organizations that reached out for help. He told us about a time when, like any new business, the Maximum Express team was working hard just to cover costs. A non-profit organization approached Maximum Express, and Al was unable to offer monetary support.
Following his tried-and-true method of never just saying “no” – of finding a way to say “yes”, to help in some way – Al offered to instead take a stack of the organization’s flyers. By handing them out at every delivery location that Maximum Express visited, Al not only helped spread the organization’s mission, he also saved them the cost of a bulk mail-out.
Deceptively simple gestures like this one started Al on the road to giving through his businesses, though in his personal life he has been a regular volunteer since childhood. These days, he does much more than just hand out pamphlets. Maximum Express works alongside numerous non-profits – including the BC Cancer Foundation, Victoria Hospitals Foundation, Mustard Seed, Lifetime Networks, and the Chamber’s Prodigy Group – as an essential component of their fundraising events.
Never just saying “no” – of finding a way to say “yes”, to help in some way.
Doing More at Maximum Express
As Al explains, the events hosted by these non-profit organizations generally require a lot of deliveries, be it in the set-up for the evening, or in the transfer of items to be auctioned off during the event. In the spirit of giving back, Maximum Express handles all these shipments free of charge. And Al’s efforts don’t stop there.
Al personally attends each and every one of these fundraising events – more than a dozen annually – and he extends his services not only to the organizations themselves, but also to the guests who support the causes. At an auction, for instance, an attendee might hesitate to bid on a large piece of art due to the added expense and hassle of getting it home. Maximum Express eliminates this concern by offering free delivery to auction guests.
Assisting at these events is a huge undertaking, and Maximum Express employees are inevitably brought into the donation process. Al says employees “really love the fact that I donate our services, because they’re part of that…they are involved in it.” He recalls a recent event for the local shelter and outreach group Our Place, after which his team told him that whatever role they play in the events – be it carrying furniture up flights of stairs or delivering auctioned artwork – they appreciate the opportunity to be “involved in the cause and in the foundation.”
The Reward of Mutual Benefit
Al’s efforts are a shining example of how to approach the receiving angle of the donation process.
Al never has any ulterior motive when offering or accepting pro bono services; he strongly believes that “no matter what you give, you’re going to get it back, tenfold. You can’t measure [how much you’ll get back],” he says, “and when you’re giving, you shouldn’t measure it.” He is passionate about every cause, and it shows in his genuine dedication, and love of discussing the organizations he supports.
In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, Maximum Express has a healthy batch of paying customers. Organizations who do not already use Al’s service often switch to Maximum Express after they have seen the Max team in action at an event. And after seeing the generosity and professionalism first-hand, guests whose purchases were delivered free of charge choose Maximum Express for future deliveries. The take-away? When your potential customers see that you are helping the community, they are more than happy to embrace you with open arms.
No matter what you give, you’re going to get it back, tenfold.
The Simplicity of Giving
Both Al and our team at HeartPress stress that even if you can’t afford to offer considerable services at no cost, there are still plenty of ways you can help, to mutual benefit. Simply hanging a banner in your office can be enough to raise awareness for an organization, and encourage word of mouth marketing for your own business. Displaying pamphlets or putting out a collection bin for a non-profit close to your company’s heart lets the world know you are giving back, and benefits the organization at the same time.
Al Hasham once promised a non-profit organization that for as long as he owns Maximum Express, they will receive free delivery services. Whether your business is able to offer a generous, long-term commitment like this, or simply takes part in the next fundraising event, big or small, know that you are making a difference in the lives of people in your community when you choose to give back.