Follow Your Heart, But Take Your Head With You
I saw some folks promoting an event “for charity” last week on Twitter. I had to ask – which charity? Why that one? It led to quite a long conversation, eventually drawing in the event organizer.
She was able to report that deaths resulting from the disease they’re fundraising for (a form of cancer) have dropped significantly in the past several years. That’s a great answer, but I asked for more detail about the impact of the specific organization she’s fundraising for.
“If I was a Dr., I’d be able to say all of the above. I’m just an Auntie of a 7 year old… survivor. #lovemyjob.”
First let me say that being the auntie of a cancer survivor is a great reason to choose to work on that particular cancer. I’m an auntie, too – I can only imagine the emotion involved.
But if I understand it right, this woman is telling me that because she has an emotional connection to it, she shouldn’t have to answer tough questions about progress in fighting this disease, or about why her organization is the best at that.
Clearly, she’s passionate about this issue, and works very hard on raising funds for her organization of choice.
But the minute she decided to support a particular organization, she became more than an auntie. She became a partner in the process of change and took on a certain amount of responsibility for being informed about how that works and who she partners with.
And the minute she decided to become a fundraiser and start asking other people to support this organization with their limited funds and time, she became directly and significantly responsible for everything they do.
She is no longer just an auntie – she is now the representative of a charity. That means she has to either be able to answer hard questions, or direct people to those who can. That means that having her heart in the right place isn’t enough anymore. Her head needs to get in the game, too.
Note: She did provide me with stats on how much money goes ‘directly to the cause’. Many people consider that a good barometer of an organization’s worthiness. I’ve written and spoken about why I disagree at length in the past.