This article was originally published on npENGAGE.
When was the last time you were unexpectedly and unreservedly inspired? How about deeply immersed in an experience— actually present and engaged? What made that moment so special and so memorable?
In today’s world, where our devices seem to blur the lines between personal and professional, it’s easy to lose sight of the actual moment we are living in.
Perhaps you are a Millennial using SnapChat or Instagram to communicate with all of your friends. Maybe you are a Gen Xer using Facebook or LinkedIn as a way to stay connected with friends and colleagues. Or you could be a Boomer or Traditionalist using your tablet to keep in contact with your family or gather and share pictures of your kids and grandkids. Regardless, with our eyes buried in our phones, tablets and computers, and our attention focused on the next great idea, picture, accomplishment, or goal, we can become oblivious to our actual, physical surroundings. It’s as if we have become immune to the humanity that surrounds us at any given moment and find ourselves lost in a virtual, and often alternative, reality.
Don’t misunderstand me.
As an NYC-based technology professional focusing on corporate philanthropy solutions, with an equally demanding passion for music that I feed through participation in a nonprofit classical, vocal music ensemble, as well as an exciting, albeit jam-packed social calendar, I am by no means suggesting that we should all suddenly start living without our smartphones and “connected” technology. However, I am proposing that we find a better balance, and a way to use our technology to enhance our experiences rather than detract from the moment!
Inspiration, engagement, truly “living in the moment” all have one key thing in common: our connection to each other. It is our humanity, our compassion for each other, and the sense of pride, accomplishment, and unconditional love that we feel when we do “good” for others and our world. This is what truly binds us, inspires us, engages us, and helps us grow.
So where do our myriad of devices and technologies come into play?
They can be used as tools to power good!
These tools are more than just devices that let us call, message, email, and connect with family and friends. And certainly more than just devices that help us organize our lives and preoccupy ourselves with games and gossip.
They can also be used to access a wealth of opportunities in our communities—where we can make a tangible, inspirational difference through volunteering, giving, and simply being present in each other’s lives!
So go ahead, continue holding onto your smartphone, and keep your tablet or computer handy (likely the tool you are using right now to read this post) and join me in taking a few minutes out of your day to use the same tool that’s already in your hands to find a local volunteer event or give to a charity whose work means something and resonates with you. Let’s harness the power of the technology that is right at our fingertips—an integral part of our daily lives—and use it to power the greater ecosystem of good together!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew J. Troup is Director of Corporate Giving & Engagement Strategy at MicroEdge + Blackbaud. In this role, Andrew helps corporations strategically plan how they can leverage technology to optimize the management and impact of their philanthropic and employee giving programs as well as inspire their employees through transformative engagement programs. As part of this, he works closely with organizations to understand their missions, goals and needs, and brings these insights back to the MicroEdge + Blackbaud development teams to continually update the giving and employee engagement technology platforms. Andrew is also currently leading efforts toward mapping employee engagement efforts to measurable outcomes, and is participating in collaborative efforts to map overall employee giving and volunteering impact in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals
When he’s not working on developing solutions that power the greater ecosystem of good, he can be found performing with Musica Viva, a professional choir and nonprofit based in NYC that provides beloved as well as rarely heard choral, orchestral, and organ works from all periods of musical history and from diverse cultures worldwide.