What do nightclubs, water, charity, and profits have in common?
A man named Scott Harrison.
Now, if you haven’t heard about Scott no worries. I didn’t know about him until a few days ago.
What’s important is that you’ll know him now.
Scott Harrison used to be a nightclub promoter. And a pretty successful one at that.
He would get paid to bring new customers to the clubs. Get club goers to pay exorbitant amounts of money for alcoholic drinks. He even got paid by a major alcohol company to be seen drinking their product in public.
He had the life.
A very successful life at that.
But things changed.
He realized that not only was his life superficial, but he hadn’t done anything of value. He hadn’t helped anyone.
He was just getting people wasted every night. Not much of a legacy to leave.
That’s when he decided to take a leave from his nightclub life and volunteer with a charity.
“This is going to be great,” he thought, “I can get a taste of something meaningful. I can help people. And I can get away from my liquor filled life.”
Unfortunately, no charity would take him. I guess when you’re a rich nightclub figure most charities don’t take you seriously.
They need men and women who are serious about helping. They don’t need guilty rich kids trying to get some spiritual high or PR boost.
After applying to dozens of charities, one finally accepted him, but only if he paid them $500 bucks before joining.
Scott was off to Africa. Ready to help Africans as part of a medical crew consisting of world class doctors, nurses and volunteers, all volunteering their time.
But Scott wasn’t ready for what awaited him in Africa.
Giant tumors, leaches, injuries and plague were just a few of the things he saw during his volunteer work there.
After seeing hundreds of patients come through their football stadium size clinic, Scott began to ask what the cause of all these diseases were.
The answer he got: the lack of clean drinking water.
See, in many of these poor countries, irrigation systems don’t exist. That means villagers have to walk to the nearest lake or river to find water.
And they share these watering holes with their livestock…which is disgusting to say the least.
Scott was shocked. Can you imagine coming from a lifestyle like his to a place like that?
No one deals with disease ridden drinking water here in the US. We’re a developed nation. It’s just not heard of.
But over there, it’s the routine.
This took Scott by surprise and would lead him to start one of the world’s most successful non-profits.
Founded after his return back from the volunteer mission. He began fundraising by inviting people to nightclubs and charging them at the door to get in.
He then moved on to actual donors (who would end up funding the back end of the charity. Management, staff, etc).
But his biggest success was turning fundraising into a social media phenomenon.
By “giving” his birthday away he was able to raise tens of thousands of dollars. Eventually creating a social media movement through his actions.
Celebrities, politicians, teenagers and even young kids started giving away their birthdays. All for the cause of clean water in Africa.
That’s amazing, right? The amount of donations Scott and Charity: Water have collected due to their social media efforts is astonishing.
And frankly encouraging.
But what amuses me is where the majority of the donations come from.
They come from men and women who have money. Like, lots of it. Enough to hold lavish parties to raise money for the charity.
Which gets me to my first point…
You Need the Wealthy to Fundraise Successfully
What was Scott’s first strategy for raising funds?
He got his rich club friends to participate.
The guys and girls that pay 20, 40, $60 to get into a club aren’t the kind that struggle with low incomes.
They have money. I don’t know how they get it, I just know they have it.
But here’s the problem with having wealthy donators.
They made their money off the little guy. They own companies, startups, investments, nightclubs, and heaven knows what else.
As some people would say, they’re no good greedy profit making capitalists.
And those people aren’t the ones you want to associate yourself with…or is that view wrong?
Here’s the Thing, Profits Aren’t Bad
I bet you’ve heard it before.
“All these companies care about is making a profit.” – “the old system of caring only about profits needs to change.” – “They don’t care about you, the consumer. All they care about is their profits.”
Yeah, that again.
I never was a fan of that kind of rhetoric. Mostly because of the rampant ignorance that routinely followed it.
Listen, profits aren’t bad.
I don’t care how often your senator, president, or pastor says profit is morally suggestible.
Making a profit does not make you a bad person. Or a greedy person for that matter.
Profit is a byproduct of providing value to people. If you own a successful company, you’ll earn a profit. You can’t get away from it. It’s part of the job.
Profits are a Way of Life
On that note, profit is a way of life for any entrepreneur, businessman, and any person who deals with money.
In an economy with a currency, profits is a big facet of everyday life.
Like I said, it’s a part of running a business. In fact, it’s a part of running a non-profit.
Non-profits need money. Guess who they get it from?
Men and women who earn a profit.
That’s right. Profits support charities…
Profits Turn Into Charity
Here’s how it works…
Someone creates a business
That business becomes successful by providing value to consumers
The business starts earning a return on their investment (i.e. a profit)
That profit goes to growing the business
A charity comes along and asks for donations to help people
The business supports the cause and donates
The profit of that company is now used by the charity to help those in need
That process works the same for celebrities too.
It always amuses me when someone gets on their soapbox to rant against profits.
It’s evil. It’s horrible. It leads to everything vile in society.
Sorry, but money in of itself isn’t immoral. It’s how people go about using it.
Money is a tool. And that tool can be used to help Africans get clean drinking water. Or it can be used to fund terrorism.
In Scott’s case, money was used to help African villages get clean drinking water. That meant they don’t have to worry about leaches in their drinking water. No more giant tumors. No more debilitating diseases.
All this done with money from nightclub partiers and celebrities.
Still think profit is bad?