I recently came back from a weeklong trip to Europe and was swapping stories with my wife about the week. She admitted what I already knew, that my five-year-old son has started to really notice my absence when I travel for work.
“But,” she said, “It’s actually really easy to explain to him why you’re away. I say to him that Daddy is out helping get money to help pay for things like safe water to drink or a safe place for a mommy to have her baby for people who need it. And he understands that and it makes sense to him.”
First, I was overwhelmed by this kind of support from my family.
Second, I noticed that, even to me, this is not exactly how my week felt.
Of course I was talking about the work that Acumen Fund does and explaining to people why supporting Acumen Fund helps bring about large-scale change to persistent social problem. But, even for me, it is easy to get caught up in the process of it all and lose track of that very simple, very important, very basic connection.
A friend of mine who serves on a number of nonprofit boards recently told me that, in her opinion, there’s no better way to tap into your original passion for a cause than to sit in front of someone else and ask them to support that cause financially. It forces you to get to the root of why you think that cause matters, to share that original passion with someone else, and to invite someone else to have the same sense of exhilaration and purpose that you feel in being part of that organization – that cause – every day.
Somehow, in the midst everything it takes to do the work – getting introduced to the right people, meeting with them, sharing your story – you can get so caught up in the process that the original purpose gets out of focus.
It helps to remember, every day, “this is why I do this.”
Yes, the act we’re engaging in is raising money, but the thing that’s really happening is that another person has safe water to drink, or a proper place to give birth, or a more productive farm, or a vaccine for a life-threatening disease, or a school that will provide them with opportunity in their lives…and all of this thanks in part to the work you’re doing.
If we can tap into that original passion – in ourselves and in others – I’m sure we can unleash a different kind of energy, and I’m sure that we can overcome all our fears about putting ourselves out there and asking people to walk our path with us.