Saturday, July 31, 2010

Challenge or Collaborate

Helen and Swanee Hunt
Women Moving Millions
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
Billion Dollar Challenge
I've been thinking a great deal about the Gates/Buffet Billionaire Challenge to raise $650 billion from billionaires.  Although I'm surely in favor of more money going to nonprofits and recognize the potential, something bothers me.  It's the same type fundraising as is done in most capital campaigns.  It's all about using competition to get people to give.

This definitely was not the method used by Women Moving Millions.  Now granted, we're talking millions here, not billions.  But you have to start somewhere and look at how successful the women were: by not using competition.  They used connection and collaboration and yes, the rest of the 6 C's of women's giving as well: change, create, commit and now they are celebrating.  The money was raised because of the need, not just because of who asked them to give.  There was no challenge involved unless it was a collaborative one of getting the goal completed (which was done and more).

Again, I don't want to negate the methods being used in the billion dollar campaign as let's face it, most billionaires are men and this is the way men have traditionally raised money--through challenging one another--through competition.

My daughter's significant other brought this home to me recently when he decided that if women could raise $8,000 at a potluck (see the July 26 post), his male friends would do the same.  He said their motive would be that they wouldn't want to have the other men think they couldn't or wouldn't participate.  This is so very different from the way we raised our money.  It was because of the cause: to help women in dire need in the community.

In the last chapter of our new book, "Women and Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World," we talk about what the world would be like if the ways women give became the ways all people give.  That remains to be seen and I hope I'm around to see the results...when women are the billionaires and making the giving decisions.  Perhaps there won't be a need for challenges because women will already be giving at least 50% of their assets to non-profits.  To be generous and compassionate because they know it's the right thing to do.

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