- Fri, June 13 2008
- Filed under: Fun stuff
Jeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion?
In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?
Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries. And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over. So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing. (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs - it does. I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)
So part of my motivation is based on need.
But the bigger part of it is based on change. I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations. And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.
I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia. I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success. I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.
I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.