Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Not For Profit - An Industry Perspective

If not for profit then what for, profit by a different name for a different reason. The point is, that regardless of the intent with respect to a accumulation of funds and their use, the functionality of getting the funds requires a common skill set. One can draw parallels from business readily. 

There are in the not for profit space great ideals, altruistic intent is always at the fore. Altruism though tends to be interpreted as placing the good of the whole, or the cause, before self. There is a danger in elevating sacrifice of self though, that danger is that in sacrifice you limit yourself. Bill Gates pursued profit, as any businessman should, with vigour and an unabashed desire to get more. Bill Gates has brought metrics and performance measure to the not for profit space from the business world. Mother Teresa sacrificed, she lived in squalor and cared for children. Mother Teresa may have saved 2000 children at best, Bill Gates at the last count I saw was at 7 million children saved - ask yourself which benefactor you would rather have. Ask yourself now, which philosophy is better, one of altruistism or one of philanthropic pursuit - I know which I prefer.  

There is embedded in our society a meam that holds sacrifice as sacrosanct, as worthy, as a prerequisite to progress; this meam flows from the Christian narrative and the Christ story. Christ had a belief, and a circumstance, and the will to distribute the word, his circumstance and opposition from others was the cause of his sacrifice. Christ, and the world, would be better off now, if someone would have gave him $60 Billion to do his work. Christ's word would have traveled to us untarnished by power struggles, undistorted by institution and absent his, and millions of others blood spilt. There is no productive outcome from sacrifice, it is inherently destructive. 

I raise this point for contemplation in developing a modality of interface with the world at large in the recruitment of funds for a cause, it is much more productive, positive and beneficial if as a result of participation in satisfying the goals of a cause, that the people approached to participate derive benefit. There is no better solution than a win win solution, and doing good while doing well, is the perfect formula when it can be made to function. 

The balance of the not for profit endeavour is really a marketing function, once the overall program is designed the only thing left to do is to tell your story in a compelling way - or at least the story of those whose interests you represent. 

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