So it turns out that much of what you and I spend our time on doesn’t matter. In particular, if you’re trying to reduce the suffering of people impacted by poverty, hunger or homelessness…at least according to Carlos Slim. Carlos Slim is ranked by Forbes magazine as the richest man in the world. Mr. Slim (the richest man in the world, ought to get a little respect) was quoted last week saying:
“The only way to fight poverty is with employment, trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything.”
Interestingly, Mr. Slim has given BIG money to charities. So it isn’t that he doesn’t give, but it appears that he believes that the way to truly make a difference is by creating jobs and building businesses. It seems he thinks that the real way to make a difference in the world is to through commerce.
We won’t quibble too much with Mr. Slim, except to say he’s dead wrong. We doubt that we can change Mr. Slim’s mind but we’d like to get you thinking.
The key to Mr. Slim’s dissatisfaction is his expectations of what his giving accomplishes.
He’s wanting to eliminate poverty or hunger or whatever. We’re pretty sure that poverty is part of this broken, messed up world. It’s not going away. But “poverty” is different than a hungry child named Ming or Dominique or Sally or…even Carlos. Feeding one child or one family or one village is possible. Providing clean water or warm clothing to individuals is doable. Giving children safe places to sleep is within reach. And, if you’re that one person whose life is changed, then it’s pretty nice to have a full belly or sobriety or safety.
The lesson for all of us in the fundraising or charity world is to set the expectations of our donors–donors at all giving levels. We believe that one of the key reasons major donors stop giving is because they don’t understand the difference they’re making though their giving (and probably that they don’t feel connected to the heart of the organization’s work).
And one other thing, maybe, just maybe, that the one who needs Mr. Slim’s charitable giving the most is Mr. Carlos Slim.
That’s our nifty segue into the second of our 8 in 8 book give away. “8 in 8″ is Oneicity’s current giveback. We’re giving to our readers books that have impacted us personally and professionally. These are the books we think you should read.
This week’s book is: “Same Kind of Different As Me”
The book tells a completely true story from two perspectives — Ron Hall, a successful yet self-centered international art dealer, and Denver Moore, a homeless man who grew up picking cotton as a Louisiana sharecropper.
Their worlds couldn’t be more different, but when Ron’s big-hearted wife Deborah volunteers Ron for serving meals at a Fort Worth homeless shelter, the two men strike up an unlikely friendship that sustains them through tragedy and leaves them changed forever.
We think you’ll be changed forever if you read the book as well. If you want a chance to win your own copy of “Same Kind of Different as Me” all you have to do is comment this week on a blog post or on the Oneicity Facebook wall. Everyone who comments has a chance to win (not per comment). We’ll choose a lucky commenter at random and send them their very own copy of the book.
Maybe Mr. Slim needs to run into his “Denver Moore” to change his perspective on how this charitable giving thing works.
So what do you think? Do you have any donors who think like Mr. Slim? What do you think about the idea that donors are personally impacted by their giving as much as the charity? And have you read or heard about “Same Kind of Different As Me?”
We love hearing what you’re thinking.
***UPDATE: Kitty Sargent is the winner of this 8 in 8 give away. We know Kitty will love the book. Thanks for joining in and to everyone who didn’t win, keep commenting, we’re just getting started on the give away.
Hoots and Thomas
(photo credit: CarbonNYC)