BusinessWeek featured a story about the world’s top philanthropists in November. The most striking line of the story:
“Most philanthropists, even experienced ones, say that it’s harder to give money away effectively than it is to make it.”
— Beth Cohen, Director of the Global Philanthropists Circle (GPG)
(An organization created by David Rockefeller’s great granddaughter.)
A few thoughts on that point:
- You should be asking whether or not your org is an effective use of funds.
The answer is yes or no.
- If NO – then you don’t deserve the money (pretty simple).
- If YES – then the issue is that you’re not able to communicate your effectiveness.
- Think much bigger about your Impact and Income Tom always shares a great line from his sales mentor who came from the life insurance business, “It’s easier to sell a million dollar policy to a qualified prospect than it is to sell a $10,000 policy to a family member.” Thing big about your qualified prospects. The greater the capacity and philanthropic interest the more difficult it is for that person to be effective (evidence in the BusinessWeek article).
I recall another BuisnessWeek article from two years (Bill Gates Gets Schooled) ago in which the Gateses communicated thier challenges in giving away money effectively. Specifically, Bill and Melinda were talking about schools and how the Gates Foundation continues to face a lot of challenges in dealing with the ‘education issue’. For the Gateses (and many others),
moneyis not the issue… the solutionis.
This means there is an entire network of investors out there looking for you (if you are an effective investment).
This is also encouraging.
- Trust me, most organizations are not out communicating their impact.
- Get a visit with a qualified prospects
- Share the story around your impact (communicating your effectiveness)
- Present the opportunity to make an investment that will change lives, save lives or transform lives
- Most people don’t go visit with the prospect; they send a letter, don’t hear back, call it a rejection and chalk it up to the idea that he prospect is “getting hit up by everybody.” Or, “It’s a competitive environment.”
- When they do visit, they ‘ask for money’ (instead of ‘presenting the opportunity’). They don’t communicate the impact. What the prospect hears is, “We want your money.” Instead of, “This is how the investment will change lives, save lives or impact lives.”
- Or, worse yet, they visit, talk about the NEED for money, share no impact and make no real ask.
This goes back to one of our principle message points: Impact drives Income.
I think this is encouraging.
So don’t base your assumptions about prospects (people, foundations or corporations) based on what you’ve heard on the street.
While we all know there are plenty of people that have ‘short arms and deep pockets’, I have a tough time accepting that judgment about somebody before going to see them — primarily because
It makes all the difference in the world. You will be successful and the word on the street will be that you walk on water.