Several months ago, I attended a networking breakfast where I had the pleasure of sitting next to the executive director of a non-profit who also happened to be a Catholic nun. I’ll call her Sister Elizabeth. She was a lovely woman, and quite savvy in her approach to business development. In fact, during the requisite “round the table” introductions exercise (we were a group of 8), her elevator pitch was the one that stood out as the most compelling.
Sister Elizabeth and I had both been invited to the event by the same person, a well-known fundraising professional who happened to have done some work for the nun’s organization on a volunteer basis. She told me a story about how she offered to pay the consultant’s normal fee for the development work he had done, but that he refused, insisting on gifting his time to her cause. Sister Elizabeth insisted in compensating him in some way and explained how she offered several specific prayers for him, which he was more than happy to receive.
Whether or not you are a believer in the power of prayer, Sister Elizabeth’s story did is an example of the many different forms of compensation we may receive for our efforts. Many of us have been invited at some point to sit on a panel, do a public speaking engagement, sit on a volunteer board or pen an interesting article to benefit someone else’s agenda. I am a firm believer that it is both the spirit of generosity and a genuine exchange of value that fuels the journeys of those who are most successful. We know that time is the most precious commodity, yet we feel badly about expecting anything in return for our altruism.
There are many different currencies with which we may be rewarded for our efforts, and I believe that we should always expect some kind of compensation for our time. These currencies have nothing to do with hard dollars. They are, instead, other offerings that may have infinitely more value than a check with some numbers on it.
Introductions, mentoring opportunities, advice, marketing promotion, education, professional development, friendship, job opportunities and prayer are just some examples of the various currencies with which we may be paid. The beauty is, once we adjust our mindset to quantify the value of things other than dollars, we avail ourselves of so much more than we ever expected.