A bad thing happens and it affects someone;
That person doesn’t like how it’s dealt with.
They do a little bit of something to remedy the situation.
They feel good.
They ask for money to do more of that thing.
Sound familiar? It’s the anatomy of a massive proportion of the 600,000 non-profits that currently operate in Australia. The ‘bad thing’ could be a particular illness, it could be walking past someone who is homeless and feeling sorry for them, it could be watching a friend of family member struggle with a mental illness.
I feel for people who have been through a tough time. It can be a pivotal moment when something illuminates a situation of disadvantage and difficulty for someone. Unfortunately, the starting of something new is often the wrong way to really have a significant impact.
“All significant impact occurs on the other side of being good.”
All significant impact occurs on the other side of being good.”
If you want to help kids with their football skills, a person who has never seen a football before is not going to do as good a job of coaching as a footballer with a Brownlow medal. Simply recognising that the coaching for your kids isn’t going to happen doesn’t make you an expert in coaching.
Of course, there are occasions where people jumping in to help out can be a massive help and relief for those that need help. The problem is, so often people start a new enterprise/organisations/movement without taking the time to check a couple of things:
What I would do, is find the person who does have those skills and make it as easy as possible for them to fulfil the function of coach. Yes I wouldn’t be the hero of the situation…. But the kids would get the coach they need.
Too often we see good will and good intentions as a substitute for actually being good. Regardless of your intention, the most impact you are going to be able to have is always at the pointy end of the skills that you have. The more good you want to do…. The better you have to be.
Want to change the world through computer programming? Build elite computer programming skills.
Want to perform game-changing brain surgery? Become a world class brain surgeon.
Want to cure cancer? Become a leader in the field of cancer research.
In the race for people’s dollars and sentiment, the non-profit sector has encouraged and fostered a system of transactional good that asks for things it knows you have without trying to understand your individual skill sets. What do people like doing? Fun Runs? Dinners? Drinking? Eating bite sized portions of delicious chocolates? Wearing clothes?
What is the easiest thing to ask for? Money? GoFund Me, and other online fundraising sites are simply digitised tin rattling platforms for social welfare programs. Offering not one iota of oversight into the efficacy or expertise of the people actually asking for money. Marketing has taken the place of efficacy. Simplifying the input and glorifying the output, all to help people feel like they’re having an extraordinary impact.
How can we justify the most efficient use of accountants time, by taking them to work in soup kitchens? How many people lack accounting skills that could serve food? How many of those could help with tax returns or financial literacy?
The Just Be Nice Project is predicated on three main steps to individuals being able to have impact.
1.Just Be Nice: This is the first step and its one that everyone can do. Regardless of age, resources, experience, we can all take the time to be a little bit nicer. If we were all nice then there is no doubt the world would be a more pleasant place. It is the bedrock of good character.
2.Be Good At Something: This is the most important step en route to having a big impact. Put simply, the better you are at something, the more impact you are able to have. You will do things faster, more efficiently and with more mastery. It’s not sexy, because it means you have to take the time to go and improve yourself, but it is the most important step to big impact.
3.Do Good: Once you are being nice, and are good at something… You are ready to do the most amount of good. It’s not to say that you can’t do any good along the way, but the most impact you can have is on the other side of being good at something. There aren’t many people at this end, because being better at something puts you in rarefied air. The harsh reality is, not everyone can simply have the same amount of impact as someone else because they have good intentions.
If you really want to change the world, start by being good. Bill Gates didn’t set out to cure malaria in 1975, he set out to build a software company. Turns out he was really, really good at it, and now, on the other side of being good, he has the resources to re-write history and potentially eradicate diseases.
In the scheme of Impact, Bill Gates is now in a position to eclipse the wide range of well-meaning, crowd funded, duplicate organisations that are funded on good intentions rather than well rounded expertise and humility.
At the Just Be Nice Project we believe:
We don’t lack resources, we lack efficacy.
We don’t lack good will, we lack understanding.
We don’t lack leadership, we lack humility.
We don’t lack people, we lack high performers utilising their actual skill sets.
We don’t lack awareness, we lack doers.
Give permission to people to go out, just be nice and take the time to be really good at something, and watch their ability to have serious impact grow in the long term.
This is a call to action to businesses and individuals that are good at something. We care.
We want to give you the opportunity to do good by doing what you are good at, bringing purpose to the effort you have already put in, and helping you develop your abilities and resources further while having maximum impact. We aren't here to tell you what you are good at, we want you to tell us, so we can help you, help others.
- Josh Reid Jones
Just Be Nice
A collection of articles relevant to pursuing the effective execution of altruism in the search for equality of opportunity.