I’m Jimmy LaRose and in the following series of articles, I’ll share with you startling “behind the scenes stories” that reveal the truth about the current state of nonprofit management. These revelations will each be paired with bold solutions that, with your help, will transform the charitable sector.
Sharing stories when writing is the safer play. You see, regardless of what you think of my conclusions, the stories stand on their own as both accurate and real. You’ll decide whether or not these provocative and
entertaining accounts resonate with your own experiences, and whether or not they are important enough to share with others.
But like I said, that’s the safer play. What isn’t safe would be to establish a premise, or (dare I say) an “axiom” that ties all these stories together.
Here’s the danger. Why read an article if it’s probable that, at any point in the future, its basic premise will prove untrue?
We live during a particular moment in time, where global “shifts in consciousness” are the norm. The enduring query “What is Truth?” is no longer a matter of debate. Postmodernism has declared that nothing
has ever been knowable, axiom is subject to context, and pragmatism is preferred over ethic.
(I’m not complaining. Our present state of awareness is not all that bad, if one considers the appalling damage persons armed with “dogma” have wrought on mankind. Even more humbling is the realization that, too many times in the past, I’ve been part of the non-thinking mob.)
Regardless, relativism challenges philanthropy’s merit, for how can we give to a cause if the proposed “case” proves to be untrue, or will become untrue in the near or far future? Important questions like the following will remain unanswered:
“Should I give to breast cancer research?”
“Why volunteer at the food bank?”
“Should I go overseas with my church?”
“Why am I being asked to join the museum’s membership circle?”
“Should I serve on the board of the local counseling center?”
“Why am I so passionate about saving the ocean?”
Wouldn’t it be helpful, even miraculous (considering the vast array of philosophies, theologies, methodologies, and motivations shared among us), to propose a common absolute in which we might universally trust?
What I’m trying to say is that it would be a whole lot easier to read these articles if there was at least one thing we could all agree upon right from the start? So, let us discern for ourselves that most elusive of ideas…a common value, upon which we can build something meaningful.
Here we go:
“If a person or a thing possesses life, it is better that, for a determinate period of time, this someone or something should be alive, rather than dead. And that, during that finite span and inherent to their animation, there is a hierarchy of needs that, if met, dignifies the life being lived.”
Simply put, it is a better thing that one lives, and if they live, experience a life worth living.
Today, I met a person who, from her own overflowing cup, shared a drink with another. She possesses that lethal combination of self-awareness and abundance that destroys destitution and fellowships another into
provision’s wake. She gave from what she had…not from what she didn’t have. It was both magnificent and startling, for, without effort, she made another person’s life worth living.
In short, these ideas allow us to RESPECT any and all attempts, successes, and failures others employ to help another. The countless ways a philanthropist contributes to another’s life worth living is fraught with
subjectivity. For some may believe that…
…Sharing religious beliefs improves another’s life
…Saving the oceans improves another’s life
…Contributing to arts and culture improves another’s life
…Giving canned goods to the food bank improves another’s life
…Ensuring families have access to counseling improves another’s life
…Investing in breast cancer research improves another’s life
Regardless of one’s political persuasion, politics, theology, or method…philanthropy demands an appreciation for the diverse and innumerable ways others help others. These thoughts, actions, and generosities are the cornerstone of a foundation upon which civil society has been built for 4,000 years.
Here’s my humble offering…
…out of the abundance with which I’ve been entrusted…
…I contribute to another person’s life…
…ensuring that they, like me, experience live worth living.
For those of us who possess a life full of love and abundance, and are in no danger of lack, let us heed the words of the wise man who said…
“I would rather have it said, ‘He lived usefully,’ than, ‘He died rich.’”
Thank you for spending a few moments of your time with me. I look forward to meeting you personally. I look forward to the journey we’re about to share together.
Warmly, Jimmy LaRose
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Jimmy LaRose is as an entrepreneur, author, fundraiser, speaker and co-founder of NANOE (National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives) and has raised hundreds of millions of dollars around the world for people in need. His best-selling book RE-IMAGINING PHILANTHROPY has been named by BookAuthority as one of the 100 Best Philanthropy Books of All Time.
Jimmy LaRose Says, “Philanthropy Ensures Everyone Experiences a Life Worth Living” is excerpted from Chapter One of RE-IMAGINING PHILANTHROPY