Randy Mayeux sent me this post from Seth Godin's blog. It raises an interesting question for fundraisers to confront.
What do you think?
Fear of philanthropy (avert your eyes)
Peter Singer is famous for posing a stunningly difficult question, paraphrased as, "If you are walking by a pond and you see a child drowning, do you save her? What if it means ruining a very fancy pair of Italian shoes?" Okay, if we assume the answer is yes, then why not spend the cost of those shoes to save 20 kids who are starving to death across town or the world? There's really no difference. Or by, extension, invest in research or development that solves a problem forever... The issues are proximity and attention.
My take is that most people would instantly save the kid, but given the choice, probably wouldn't take the road by the pond again any time soon. We like to avoid these situations, because these situations make us uncomfortable.
Avert your eyes.
The reporter tells you, I'm going to show you a video of the meat you're going to eat for dinner being slaughtered. Avert your eyes. Or the fundraiser says I'm going to tell you about easily avoidable suffering in the developing world. Avert your eyes...
It boils down to a simple question, "how much is enough?" She knows that one iPod is all she needs, but she wonders how much philanthropy is enough? And this is a key marketing question for anyone seeking donors.
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