If you put these five things together - you can't use money to attract talent, you can't advertise, you can't take risks, you can't invest in long-term results, and you don't have a stock market - then we have just put the humanitarian sector at the most extreme disadvantage to the for-profit sector on every level, and then we call the whole system charity, as if there is something incredibly sweet about it.
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When we show people that something is possible that they didn't think was possible it does more than just change things. It changes the way people think about the possibility of things changing. It helps them see that life is not the same day-after day, unsurprising, unending drudgery that so much of life teaches them that it is. And that is a huge contribution to their humanity.
What's important is how we use our time on this earth, not how conspicuously we give our money away. What's important is the energy and courage we are willing to expend reversing entropy, battling cynicism, suffering and challenging mediocre minds, staring down those who would trample our dreams, taking a stand for magic, and advancing the potential of the human race.
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The next time you're looking at a charity, don't ask about the rate of their overhead; ask about the scale of their dreams - their Apple-, Google-, Amazon-scale dreams - how they measure their progress toward those dreams, and what resources they need to make them come true, regardless of what the overhead is.
We tell the for-profit sector, 'Spend, spend, spend on advertising until the last dollar no longer produces a penny of value,' but we don't like to see our donations spent on advertising in charity. Our attitude is, 'Well look, if you can get the advertising donated (at four o'clock in the morning) I'm okay with that, but I don't want my donation spent on advertising, I want it to go to the needy,' as if the money invested in advertising could not bring in dramatically greater sums of money to serve the needy.
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We aren't upset when Paramount makes a $200 million movie that flops, but if a charity experiments with a $5 million fundraising event that fails, we call in the attorneys. So charities are petrified of trying bold new revenue-generating endeavors and can't develop the powerful learning curves the for-profit sector can.
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While business advertises, charity is taught to beg. While business motivates with a dollar, charity is told to motivate with guilt. While business takes chances, charity is expected to be cautious. We measure the success of businesses over the long term, but we want our gratification in charity immediately. We are taught that a return on investment should be offered for making consumer goods, but not for making a better world.
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