Make a Profit to Save the World

Woman holding a sign in protest.
 Photo by Markus Spiske

In short:

  • The key is to aim at increasing the odds of success
  • You’re never really done with the awareness stage
  • Be good at pulling heartstrings, but better at talking ROI

Perhaps looking at the current worldwide picture makes it more difficult than usual to state that people generally want to make the world they live in a better one. 

Even those who manage to outrun the self-defeating thoughts they have on the matter, still ultimately have to face the question a chorus of voices has asked before them.

What’s there to be done to obtain the most positive outcome possible?

Generations before ours have had their brightest minds focused on solving global-scale historical issues, such as getting rid of poverty and disease, putting an end to the idea of resolving conflict through war or using our planet’s resources in a way that doesn’t threaten the livelihood of the following generations. 

And yet, we still, unfortunately, refer to all of those as current problems. The good news is we at least get a chance to beat them too.

Problem-solving for the greater good

What’s the one thing that you can very well overlook without having much to lose when tackling small-scale problems, but absolutely have to consider when confronted with large-scale ones if you want any chance at success at all? 

Actively increasing your odds of accomplishing what you have in mind. 

Today’s intellectual operational model is to coldly deconstruct the problem. The idea is that once you have it in front of your eyes in pieces, you can rearrange it in a way that allows you to channel the potential but shift the functionality. 

Therefore, you, the engaged citizen of the 21st century don’t have to get rid of issues others have tried to unsuccessfully banish before you – it’s enough to repurpose them. 

Join the conversation, anyone?

Two men fist bump during a meeting.
Photo by fauxels

Truthfully, as long as our species exists there are always going to be individuals who won’t shy away from staring down the ugly, the corrupted, and the pain-inflicting and think “If only X would be done differently, then this wouldn’t be so bad.” 

Nothing is too sacred to be questioned. And even if not everyone is going to be interested in having these kinds of conversations, as many as possible should be aware that these conversations are in fact happening. 

Remember: most people want to do good but they might not be always on the lookout for ways they could get involved, so regularly sending reminders out into the world about a cause might get you the forces of those who happen to be paying attention that time. 

For the distracted ones, you’ll try and again and again. It’s your loss if you don’t.

Talk money – the sooner, the better

Keep in mind, however, that it’s people you’re dealing with here. As much as they want to help make things better for others, they want things to go well for themselves too. 

If you’re going to get a long term commitment of their good intentions, you’d better make the benefits of their involvement crystal clear since the beginning. This isn’t to cheapen the experience, this is to legitimize it and eventually transform it into a model that resourceful individuals can join without having to necessarily pass the good heart test. 

If you can get clean water and stop tormenting diarrheal diseases for children in Third World countries, are their PR checks really a bother to you? 

Let them have their return on investment (ROI) – there’s hardly a better incentive for them to make a bigger investment in your organization a second time around. The longer their client list gets, the better the revenue they collect, and the more they could re-direct towards your cause.

It’s great that you want to make the world a better place. Maybe you could start by not checking out of the conversation once financial metrics are being discussed. It’d be a shame to lose you precisely when the dream becomes a plan for action. 

If you stick around the money talk long enough, it’ll become immediately evident to you the power such discussions have in quickly aligning the interests of all parties involved. 

It’ll also become clear just how significant it is for you, the greater good advocate, to be a part of it. Not to mention that having a seat at the table where sometimes tough calls are being made might make you a little less judgy toward some of your preconceived money-related views on things like, corporate greed, for instance.  

Not to say that corporate greed isn’t a real thing. In fact, the point that I’d like to end on is that you shouldn’t let yourself get so wrapped up in all these attempts that promise the betterment of humanity that you end up sacrificing your own. 

Harnessing all the resources available to you to build a fulfilling life will not distract you from your mission to make the world a better place. On the contrary, maintaining a deep connection with what it is that makes life worth living for you will keep your drive to protect it for yourself and make it happen for others very much alive.

Opinion and Commentary

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