Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Battle For The Microphilanthropist's Mind...

In their terrific recent book, "Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior," brothers Ori and Rom Brafman raised an interesting psychological dichotomy that affects us here in the world of philanthropy.

"It's as if we have two "engines" running in our brains that can't operate simultaneously. We can approach a task either altruistically or from a self-interested perspective. The two different engines run on different fuels and also need different amounts of those fuels to fire up. It doesn't take much to fuel the altruism center: All you need is the sense that you're helping someone or making a postive impact. But the pleasure center seems to need a lot more..."

The penultimate sentence in that paragraph is the kicker "... the sense that you're helping someone or making a postive impact." That is half the battle with philanthropies today. Donors have become disillusioned because they feel that the impact of their donations is getting diluted by large bureacratic style charities crippled with huge overhead costs. That is an unfortunate reality in the history of charitable giving.

But the Internet allows us the ability to create a much leaner, more efficient model of giving - the practice of microphilanthropy. It is not how much you can give personally. It is about the currency that lies within your social network.

So come on, donate today. More importantly, tell your friends to do likewise. Together, there really is no reason why we can't make the practice of microphilanthropy mainstream.

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1 comment:

kanter said...

Love your illustration here.