What’s an Un-Savvy Do Gooder?

So, friends, if we’re Savvy Do Gooders, what’s the alternative? What’s a regular do gooder?

I know it’s a cliche, but I’m going to the dictionary definition on this one, because it’s bang-on. Dictionary.com defines the term “do gooder” as:

“a well-intentioned but naive and often ineffectual social or political reformer.”

Oh, yes – that’s exactly what I used to be. A nice person doing nice things that never went much of anywhere. I used do things like:

  • Mass fundraising: indiscriminately bombarding family and friends with requests to get involved in various things that sounded like good ideas
  • Over-involvement: saying yes to any and every volunteer opportunity and event invitation that came my way
  • Pollyanna-ism: being enthusiastically positive and encouraging about anything with a ‘charity’ label on it, but failing to dig any deeper

Not that I’m completely reformed – I still feel the temptation to get on board with things I don’t know enough about, or that aren’t really a good fit. I still feel the impulse to go into full ‘bravo, you!’ mode when I meet anyone who claims to be doing good, before I know enough to justify it.

But what I’ve found out is that un-savvy do gooding is exhausting. You’re always spread too thin and you never feel like you accomplish anything. And it snowballs. People find out you like ‘charity stuff’ and they expect you to be interested in and supportive of any and all ‘charity stuff’. You get volunteered for everything. You get introduced to more and more people looking for supporters.

It’s not really sustainable. Which is why many of us get overwhelmed and fed up. We either withdraw from the whole do-gooding thing, or we start to look for different ways to approach it. When we choose the latter path, we often end up better off; people who are a little more discriminating, a little more deliberate and (hopefully) get more good done.

So what’s an un-savvy do gooder? Ideally, it’s just a Savvy Do Gooder in the making!

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