The Church of ‘Give Me Your Money’
One more word about the NGO’s – market share. I have personal experience in this. A few years ago I started a non-profit organization to raise money for aids/HIV work. That was back in the early days of the disease. The first thing to happen was I got rained on by The United Way, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, and various other Aids organizations. I had no idea that I was competing with any of these people, but they were upset at this new kid on the block horning in on their money supply. And they weren’t very subtle about it either.
In fact, talking about subtleties, a few years back right after that terrible earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, a medical team from Winnipeg went overseas to provide whatever help they could. This was not an organization – it was just a group of professionals committed to giving of themselves for the benefit of others. When they got there, they went to the place where they could be most effective and were promptly edged out by NGO’s who wanted that place for themselves. Why? Because that’s where they could make the most brownie points and that’s the TV camera were zoned in on.
In the mean time, back in the seventies, a fellow began lending small amounts of his own money to individuals, mainly women in Bangladesh, to start small businesses. It was phenomenally successful. In fact he won the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian efforts.
One of the twenty-two immutable laws of marketing states that success breeds competition and – you guessed it – a number of others got in on the act. The only thing was, they put a new twist on it. They wanted a return on their investment. The deacons of the church of ‘Give Me Your Money’ got their hands on it and promptly screwed it all up. The short-term nature of the “Church’s” goals draw out the predatory nature of its adherents, negating the good that was being done and putting the program into disrepute.
The silly thing about this approach is that the gain is minimal and when the profits dry up, the original concept is wrecked. Thus the chance at eradicating poverty, starvation, disease and social ills is back at square one.
Well, that’s the way it looks from up here on the top shelf.