Yesterday, Stephen Pierce launched an appeal – For A Greater Cause – to help feed 1,000,000 starving children. His aim is to raise enough money within 72 hours to provide a meal for each starving child. Simply visit the website and add your name to download a free report and for each name that is collected, a plate of food will be donated to feed a starving child.
I applaud his efforts and also his intentions. If you are reading this, I would urge you all to add your name NOW. I already have done. It only takes a minute to sign up and help.
While I am very much impressed with the goal that has been set and Stephen’s desire to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves, I have concerns about the methods employed. Thinking about what it takes to get people to help each other, I am left with the bitter taste of cynicism as I consider – do we really need to be bribed to make a donation?
I hope that each of you signing up are doing so for the sake of helping a starving child and not for the free report. It concerns me that there even needs to be a “free report” offered to tempt some people into acting in a charitable way. Has our global village really become so mean-spirited that we can no longer give without expecting something back? Are we so cynical to assume that people no longer give without gain? Or perhap it’s time to grow up and understand what it means to give?
There are some things that I find very interesting about this appeal that make me question the approach which has been taken. Before I begin, I would have to say please don’t think I am saying something negative of Stephen’s intentions – I am a student of Stephen’s and I know that his motives are pure. I have seen his drive and determination when putting a across an idea because he believes in helping people. Having spoken to him, I found him to be a very genuine guy. When he says he’s going to feed a million starving children, I believe him regardless of the temptations…
And while I understand his motives, I cannot comprehend the methods that are being used.
Firstly, wouldn’t it be better to “teach a man to fish”? I emailed this suggestion to the support staff on his program but didn’t hear anything back. I am not saying that 1 meal isn’t a good thing – it is an excellent thing and better than what they have now – I am simply saying that helping to create an environment where these 1,000,000 children can be fed continually would be a much better use of resources. I already support charities that help on a continuous basis and any other appeals that help can only be a good thing.
I’m surprised that there is no donations option on the first page of the website. It appears that I have to sign up to make a contribution. I’m sure there are quite a few people wondering why a “name-squeeze” page is being used so that a child can be fed when a simple PayPal donations button would do. There isn’t even an option to do this. If there was a purpose to the email field, perhaps explaining that it is a required field and that they will use the email address to update people about how the appeal is going, then maybe I’d feel okay about this type of page.
After adding the email, the site directs you to a “one-time-offer” page. Standard Internet Marketing practice. This page offers an opportunity to “donate” $30. In return, there is a Mega-Pack of videos, manuals and interviews. Here’s the list:
- A Business Success Video By Robert Kiyosaki.
- A Time Management Video By Brian Tracy.
- Career Advice in a video from Harvey Mackay.
- A Business Strategy Video from Jay Abraham (the $6 billion dollar man).
- A Rare, Never Before Publicly Seen Video By Og Mandino, Former Editor in Chief of Success Magazine.
- A Session Recordings From Armand Morin’s Live Wealth Building Seminar.
- A Online Profit Manual Titled “Immediate Income” By Jim Edwards.
- A Real Estate Success Video By Dolf de Roos.
- A Collection of Interviews with Millionaires from Mike Litman.
- A Success Interview By Mark Joyner & Joe Vitale.
- A First-Time Released Recording With Mike Filsaime & Tom Beal On Growing A Business From Nothing To Multiple Millions A Year.
- A Live List-Building Course (essential skill for any internet business owner) By Tellman Knudson.
- AND 2 Additional Motivational Mix Tracks from me, Stephen Pierce.
Now, I don’t know about you but I believe in being able to give without expectation* of receiving anything back. As a responsible adult, I understand that giving has it’s own rewards. If you believe in Karma, you know it comes round. If you are religious, then you will be rewarded eventually. If you are in any way spiritual, there will be an understanding of the benefits that you receive simply by giving.
For me, giving with the expectation of something in return is a very childlike understanding of what it means to give. If we as a global society are at this point, then perhaps it’s time for grow up. Each of us needs to stop speaking as a child, thinking as a child and reasoning as a child. As we each become responsible for ourselves and for others, we put these childish ways behind us (Corinthians 13:11).
As a father, I attend to my children when they are in pain or distress out of Love. Nothing more. As a father, I teach my children to think, act and be responsible for their actions. More importantly, the consequences of their actions on those around them. Actions, positive or negative, have an impact on the world. Making 1 person happy during the course of your day has a knock on effect (as well as making you feel better about yourself). Together, as enlightened adults, responsible for our actions, I truly believe that as a global society we can make a difference in the world.
For me, it all comes down to intentions.
One of the central values I hold is the intention “to help people make their lives easier”. The idea is simple. By helping people make repetitive tasks simple – like by building a plugin – then I feed good about myself for contributing to the world. Receiving appreciative emails are also great and help re-enforce the desire to do more good. It is a self-perpetuating positive motivation to keep building better and better things. This helps to construct a framework of meaning to life. And having a framework enables clarity and purpose.
As individuals, we all have to make choices about the actions that we take in our lives. “Doing nothing” is still a choice to act in a certain way. Being accountable for our actions and never shying away from the repercussions of our choices, is what it means to be grown up. What it means to be an adult. And as adults, we have a choice to feed starving children or not.
It only takes a few seconds to sign up and donate a plate of food. And whether or not you agree with the methods employed, I would urge you to at least believe in the intention. I, personally, disagree with the methods used but understanding my own objections is still not a morally acceptable reason to let a child go hungry.
Please contribute in whatever way you can to help these starving children.
Understand why you are doing it and do it for the greater cause within yourself…
*Side note: There are some scholars who would argue that because there is always a benefit to giving, therefore there is no such thing as an altruistic act. My personal opinion of this is that altruism is due to expectation – giving without expectation of receiving is an altruistic act, regardless of the benefits that actually do come back.