Friday, July 30, 2010

Charity or Profit Potential?

Unfortunately in today’s world it does not seem that there are much goodness and mercy left. You would think as a consultant for nonprofits I would be surrounded by all like minded people that in short are all seeking to make a difference in others’ lives and doing everything for the right reason.

Now more than ever I feel as if I have to be on constant guard as I am approached by individuals, all that tout they want to take up the banner of “doing good” and helping others. Yea, right!

As I talk to others and peel away the layers seeking to really understand what the person’s motivation might be, in many cases I discover quickly that it is not all about helping others, but helping themselves as well.

Let’s look at a case in point that is known nationally. Most of us at some point have seen TV commercials advertised by various chain office supply stores encouraging you to help the kids going back to school with school supplies because they can’t afford to buy them.

The local stores in turn ask their customers to buy that extra pack of paper or box of pencils and donate them to the school of their choice. On the face there is nothing wrong with school teachers getting help but we tend to forget the store is making a sale. All that warm and fuzzy advertising is just that, advertising.

Likewise, there several different websites like and that have as a goal to connect teachers with donors. Again, there is nothing wrong with that! How the programs generally work is that teachers post a wish list and then donors can go and make purchases via the site to help with that wish list that was posted. The donor gets a donation receipt, the teacher gets the item and the website….well the website or I should say the managers of the site get a commission on the sale.

Again, is good being done, absolutely! However, if there were no profit potential would the site be online because it was the right thing to do or would the store care about the school children needing school supplies?

I’ll let you answer this question in your own mind.

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