Chapter 2Empathy

“I would never support an issue just because. There has to be a reason and I seek the impact of the cause before showing any support.” She later made a donation to a cause after seeing an image of a person in need.

—31-year-old female donor

A friend of mine is on the board of directors for a local nonprofit organization. In the fall of 2014, I got an email from him inviting me to the organization's gala. I get a lot of these kinds of invitations. In fact, I think I could go to one every weekend if I opened my calendar up.

The subject line to the email was great. It said: “I know you hate these things—but humor me.” His first line is even better. “I get this is the kind of request that makes you want to run and hide, jump off a cliff, or better yet go in for a root canal. But I would love it if you could come to the event.”

Here were the three reasons he said I should go:

  1. I could hang out with him and his wife for the evening—good food and drinks.
  2. There was going to be some fun entertainment.
  3. We could hear about a cause and issue he is passionate about.

How could I say no?

At the event, they did something so many nonprofit galas have. A moment when they ask those in the audience to support the organization's work helping to alleviate homelessness locally. I knew it was coming. And so did my wife—since she was a former nonprofit executive at one time. I whispered to her, here we go. My friend comes up to me and says, “I don't expect you to give anything—just ...

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