Here’s a riddle: all good product sales are not about the product, they’re about the story about the product, right? (Method soap tells a story about the kind of hip, environmentally conscious, non-ostentatious but still a little bit fancy consumer you are; there’s a whole ethos and culture and world outlook story that surrounds each iPhone (and, soon, iTouch) ; JetBlue sells an attitude about flying along with free TV.)
What about selling something that has no product? That seems hard to do. In fact, it seems so hard to do that if you could find someone who knew how to do that, you’d know that they were pretty darn good at their job – probably better at selling that someone who has a product AND a story to sell, right?
Selling philanthropy seems to me to be a product-free sale. It’s the pure sale of an idea, of an ethos, of who you can be.
So the riddle is: if philanthropy is a product-free sale, why aren’t the people selling philanthropy the best salespeople around?