Making a Difference is simple as losing 25 cents. It is easy afterall and it doesn’t hurt. Do it with microfinance and that simple will become big.
Sorry to disrupt the series I started with this one little rant. I was browsing my mails awhile ago and I dug a great content from one of the newsletters I subscribed in and it struck me right on top of my head. BANG!
Gee, I just would like to share it with you. This is from Paul Myers of Talkbiz.com newsletter dated December 30, 2009. I did not ask permission from him to post this one but all I want is to point out that making a huge difference in microfinance is as easy as losing 25 cents. Painless.
I was talking with a friend recently, and the conversation drifted into one of the more common ones that come up when people are facing a whole new year, and aren’t happy with the way they spent the last one.
She said she wanted to make a difference for people. My first suggestion, of course, was that she learn to be chronically happy. I mean, what better example can you set?
Think about that.
She didn’t think people should settle for the small things that cheer folks up, or that remind them that some of us look at them as real people, who really matter. She wanted to make a difference that was “significant.” (Being nice isn’t significant?)
She thought it would be perfect if you could do something every single day that would make that kind of difference for someone. She also thought that was impossible for normal people.
I gave her a chuckle, and told her she’d never met a “normal” person in her life. She didn’t much like that. That particular chuckle always means I have something up my sleeve. We agreed that money wasn’t the way to do it. For one thing, most problems aren’t solved by money, at least not for long.
Most of those are the result of patterns, which people will just fall back into. Besides, how many people have enough of the stuff to go around dropping life-changing amounts of cash on a different person every day?
Then there’s the “personal involvement” option. How many really significant needs can be addressed long-term in a single day? Even if you could manage that, you wouldn’t be able to do anything else. Not many people are in a position to do that, either. Even fewer want to.
On top of that, the majority of people have the problems they do because they fit with how those people think life should be. There’s very little more frustrating than trying to change a person who doesn’t want to change. The worst part is, the people who try always feel bad when they can’t teach the snake to tap dance.
“If I could just have gotten the shoes on him…”
We also agreed that, other than rescuing someone from an immediate and life-threatening situation, you really can’t take credit for most changes in people’s lives. You can give them the resources, perspectives and tools to make the change for themselves, but anything they choose to do is their doing.
At that point, I asked her if making a big difference for one person every day – on the average – was enough. She said, sure, if it’s measurable.
So, I asked her if she could come up with $182.50. When she said yes, I pointed out that there are charities that, for the princely sum of 25 or 50 cents each, can provide immunizations against malaria for children in Africa. That’s an average of one (or two) per day, for an entire year. And that’s going to save a lot of lives.
It’s an almost mystical experience to see the look on someone’s face as a thing they thought was impossible turns into “Hey! I can do that!”
In that moment, you’re looking at a completely new person.
With a slightly different tone, the question became, “Is that really me making the difference? Isn’t it the people doing the work?”
My response: “Look, girl. Do you want to make a difference, or do you just want the credit for it?”
I couldn’t tell if she was going to cry, laugh or hit me.
Instead, she said, “Okay, smarta$, how would YOU do it?”
That’s my kind of challenge.
There are a lot of buzzes around the concept of microfinance on whether this system is helping in poverty alleviation or not. Or whether the approaches are effective or not. Read the mail once more.
It is not how much money you’ll put it in. It is not how big the difference you’ll make from it. It is appreciating the results you set in your goals.
As always, I will appreciate if you could drop some comments below.
So long…and happy microfinancing.