Start with the Why

Have you heard of the popular motivational speaker, Simon Sinek?

He’s the visionary thinker, marketing and leadership consultant - and Ted Talk speaker - who is leading a movement to inspire people to do things that inspire them. 

He now markets an online course to assist folks to discover their personal why - Start with the Why.   The course takes participants through exercises to explore the purpose, cause or belief that motivates and inspires them.  Coming out of the course, participants will have ascertained and described the contribution they will make towards an articulated desired impact.  

Sinek frames this as a tool to help folks to be inspired by their vocation.    In fact, this process is very similar to the one used when determining how to be an engaged, effective and fulfilled philanthropist. Just like identifying a career path, when creating a plan for philanthropy, it is important to articulate how you wish to see the world through your contribution – your desired impact.

A couple, I will refer to as Sylvia and Ken, have both been very successful in their respective careers.   They are now retired in their 70’s and have children and grandchildren in whose lives they are involved.  They have always been active in their community as leaders in a variety of organizations.   With more time on their hands now, they have identified a number of causes that have meaning to them and have shared their time, treasure and talent to seed fund a number of projects and programs which would not have happened without their support.  They have felt engaged by these projects and speak glowingly about the activities that have taken place because of their contributions. 

Now, as their actions are playing out, we are referring back to their desired impact – the condition in which they wish to see the world.  We are checking in with the organizations carrying out the activities to ask questions about how the programs are actually making change in the world.  For example, are there more women accessing and using the health services designed for their needs and is this improving the well-being of them and their children? And how is this being measured?  In each case, identifying desired outcomes at the beginning is helping to formulate the questions to assess impact. 

As with all we do, articulating a goal provides us with focus and a means to identify success. 

Simon Sinek aptly describes the benefits of a “Why Statement”:

“A Why Statement is one sentence that captures your unique contribution and impact. The contribution is the real actionable part of your Why. The impact is the condition you wish to leave the people and world around you. Together, these two components provide fulfillment for you and those you serve.”

Philanthropy done thoughtfully and strategically provides meaning and satisfaction for you and those in the community you support. 

As a philanthropy advisor, I work with families and individuals to create and facilitate a safe and productive environment to articulate values, interests and goals.   Together we develop, implement and monitor a plan to make giving meaningful, satisfying and effective. 

For more information on how I work with clients to assist them to give with heart and for impact please visit the approach and services pages on my website.