There is a great post on Seth Godin’s blog today by Sasha Dichter called In Defense of Raising Money: A Manifesto for NonProfit CEOs. Sasha makes the point that the actual act of raising awareness and funding for a non-profit’s cause does good for that cause and is a worthy endeavor:
Do you really believe that the “real work” is JUST the “programs” you operate? (the school you run; the meals you serve; the vaccines you develop; the patients you treat?) Do you really believe that it ends there? Do you really believe that in today’s world, where change can come from anyone and anywhere, that convincing people and building momentum and excitement and a movement really doesn’t matter?
And I love how he makes the point that has been on my mind for a long time: Non-profits do a service to those who give by providing a way for them to invest their money not for financial return, but for the good of others. This is as worthy an investment as anything you put in the stock market. More so. Both for-profits and and non-profits serve critical roles in society. Jim Collins has said this really well: “If all our society had was effective businesses, we would not be a great nation. We must have great social sector organizations, too.” Here is how Sasha Dichter puts it in the post:
Our society has done a spectacular job of creating enormous amounts of wealth. At the same time, wealth is associated with power, and not having wealth can feel like not having power. So going to someone who has money and saying, “You have the resources, please give some of them to me” doesn’t feel like a conversation between equals.
How about this instead: “You are incredibly good at making money. I’m incredibly good at making change. The change I want to make in the world, unfortunately, does not itself generate much money. But man oh man does it make change. It’s a hugely important change. And what I know about making this change is as good and as important as what you know about making money. So let’s divide and conquer – you keep on making money, I’ll keep on making change. And if you can lend some of your smarts to the change I’m trying to make, well that’s even better. But most of the time, we both keep on doing what we’re best at, and if we keep on working together the world will be a better place.