The Philanthropic Dating Game


Remember the old television show from the 60’s;The Dating Game”?

It was that crazy program where three bachelors or bachelorettes would sit behind a wall while someone badly dressed on the other side asked the wackiest questions they could. How each prospective blind date answered would hopefully lead to the perfect match and a Cinderella future. It seldom wound up with Prince Charming getting the nod.

Picking a charity for your advocacy is a little like The Dating Game. The philanthropist sits on one side of the wall while the charity he or she might want to support sits on the other. We ask questions and get some basic answers.

One of the big differences between the TV show and real philanthropic dating is that we donors often only ask one or two questions and often they are already answered by a TV add or website. We seldom dig as deep as we could to determine if the date we are about to go on will actually be the best relationship we could arrange for ourselves.

We know for certain who or what the charity supports and we know that some portion of our donation will be used to meet that objective. What we don’t often know is exactly how much of our compassion actually makes its way to the actual reason we decided to ask the charity out in the first place.

In the non-profit Dating Game there can be vast differences between the percentages of our donations that go to the people or things that need it most and the percentage that goes into the production of the show.

For some of us this doesn’t matter but maybe it should.

There has been a lot of press lately about how much of a philanthropist’s money is actually being spent on the objective of his philanthropy versus the efforts used to attract his or her attention or even on the attention-getters themselves. This is a good thing because the non-profit dating game is one that should be as transparent as possible. All too often there is more that stays hidden behind the wall than emerges even after our date turns the corner into our arms.

At Orchid we believe in 100% discretionary funding where the philanthropist decides where all their charity will be directed. We also believe in complete accountable transparency even before the game begins so we start without a wall.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us about a philanthropic date you’ve been on and how it felt to you. No names please.


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