We love to hate our donors.
Just settle any "poverty porn" opponent onto the soothing cushions of a psychiatrist's couch and ask in your best marshmallow voice, "Why do you feel the way you do about this particular issue?"
The heartfelt answer (I do NOT question their sincerity; just their ability to manage a business): Because we shouldn't have to run sad pictures to raise money for a good cause
"We shouldn't have to...."
Ah, entitlement. A pure bell tinkling in so many hearts.
In other words, "poverty porn" opponents and other self-ordained priests of pure motivation, dismiss
empathy as a scientifically-mapped, natural, community-building, evolutionarily-useful, cleansing and
rewarding (yes, dopamine is involved) human response to sorrow and misfortune; a response hard-wired into most brains (sorry, psychopaths: you're excluded; see, that's what you're missing: garden-variety empathy; most, though, have it).
Cue instead dumb-dumb entitlement: "We do good work. People SHOULD support us."
Let me be clear (as I lift a glass of decent old vine zinfandel) I do not believe in drug testing for nonprofit staff. Altered states have their uses.
I DO believe, though, we should test for traces of "entitlement" thinking. Those thoughts are infantile, unprofessional. Pre-neuro-scientific. And, CFOs take note, glaringly dangerous to a charity's growth. Yes, there's proof; otherwise I wouldn't venture a peep.
And now for something that might put a true lift in your step....
For your door (and the education of passersby): the above MANIFESTO, designed by the magical Bluefrog
, written by the ever-delightful Ian MacQuillin, director of Rogare
, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University, in the UK.
As Ian explains in his announcement
, it is "based on Beatrice Warde's famous 'This is a printing office' manifesto ... posted in almost every print room in the English-speaking world during the 1930s and 1940s, and is cast in bronze outside the US Government Printing Office in Washington DC."
You can download a hi-res PDF of the manifesto here
Love you, Ian. You know your history. You know every herring swims upstream in his ancestors' wake: no advances without predecessors.