The only way a relationship will last is if you see it as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take

Having decided, right out of college to dedicate my life’s work to utilizing my penchant for marketing communications for the betterment of our social sector, I often found myself having to dissect the all-too-common straw-man arguments of many of my peers. During my twenties, I’d often have Jamieson-fueled conversations with my eldest brother [who at the time was struggling a bit himself and fell victim to the bullshit hypocrisy moral philosohpy of Ayn Rand – who railed against government benefits, but grabbed social security and medicare when she needed them] whereas, although supportive of my decision to a certain extent, him and his 3-4 friends would spend a good night trying to convince me that I should stop being such an idealist and rather bow to the worldview of temporarily embarrassed millionaires who believe that they should “get theirs” , THEN they can give back to their communities.

Full disclosure – I was a 25 year old, often complaining myself to anyone who would listen about my lack of career growth – making around $31,000/year CAD when working an entry level fundraising job while working 60-80 hour weeks for about 2 years]

I love you man. But get the fuck out of fundraising, you can do way better than that.
I appreciate that you want to change the world – that’s commendable.
But fuck that.
Get yours. Get yours.
THEN you will be in a better position to give back to the community

This type of worldview [or simple objections] is one that many of us fundraisers may have become intimately familar with, often under the guise of:

Support YOU? Who supports ME?


Let’s take 15.

Now it’s necessary that we respectfully acknowledge up front that these types of generalized objections don’t come from a place from one wanting to literally distance themselves from putting others’ above themselves but are rather the results of many individuals feeling disenfranchised due to decades of systematically planned and endorsed socio-economic conditions beyond their personal control [one of the main factors for the current prevailing spectrum of identity politics whereas American’s voted for Trump as a Strong Man or Trudeau as a sexy SJW for example]

The unfortunate reality is that many fundraisers will quickly fold under such objections. For good reasons. It’s a tough sell when such an objection is brought up – it’s highly personal to the donor. But this reminds me of an old Buddhist proverb:

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day.
Unless you’re too busy.

Then you should sit for an hour.

So the next time that you hear a donor say something along the lines of  “why should I give to you, who gives to ME” you can easily overcome such a “selfish” [with no negative connotation – all we care about is  through the lens of “what’s in it for me”] you can let them know that actually – well it is in YOUR best interest to give and use your personal agency to help your fellow human being – research clearly indicates that giving is really better than receiving.

Paint them a reflective picture that guides them towards an even more “selfish” disposition – Tactfully let these types of donors know that, shit, if you really do care about yourself, if you really want to put yourself first like you say you do – then it is in YOUR best interest to care for others, because YOU will gain more from your philanthropic commitments then “they” will from you.

May you continue to cultivate the joy of giving. It’s a grind, but that’s what makes it worthwhile.


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