The Difference Between Cause & People
Forgive me for being elementary, but I think it’s important to distinguish the difference between supporting a cause and helping people.
A cause is a “thing” we support in hopes of providing tangible help for “people” in need. Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty at times of being more passionate about the cause (i.e., projects for people) than the very people it seeks to help. #Fail.
I’m not sure if you’ve experienced the same, but I do know it’s quite possible for anyone to be derailed from focusing in on what’s most important. Over the years, I’ve been working hard to not make this a common recurrence (aka mental lapse). Here are some possible ways (not exhaustive) that might help you stay focused on people even as you seek to help them:
- Spend time with the individuals you hope to benefit.
- I know that this is not always possible (especially with some causes), but nevertheless, try to stay connected with those who are most impacted by “the issue” (for lack of a better word). Knowing actual people that may need relief will humanize your efforts. Talking about people you hope help is not the same as sharing life with them.
- Take time to reflect on your heart regularly.
- Consider the things that irritate you in your efforts. Is the root cause of your irritation really about the cause or your personal preferences and expectations of the cause?
- Do you still sense joy or purpose behind what you’re doing?
- Is it really about people or your need to accomplish something? Just asking. 🙂
- Weigh through your schedule and priorities.
- Consider how you allocate time to promoting the cause versus working on the cause. I understand that working on the cause includes PR and marketing, but it’s vitally important that the bulk of your focus should be on improving strategies and programs that provide the best help for people.
- In addition, one of the most productive things you could do is spend time we people you hope to serve. They often has some of the best insights and ideas for the cause. In my experience, more ideas have been birthed through those I’ve sought to help than anything I’ve done virtually or even in person with donors/investors. Allow people to drive the cause.
If you are involved in any cause at any level, thank you. You are indispensable. I just ask that we (including me) don’t ironically forget about the ones we hope to benefit.