If a person you only knew as a friend on Facebook asked you to loan them a $1,000, would you? If you did, would you expect to get the money back as promised? If you met the same individual in-person and they reached out their hand to confirm the terms of the loan and you could look them in the eye, would it change your decision?
These were a couple observations shared by a participants on a conference call with Simon Sinek earlier this week. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that convenience was replacing the humanizing part of a relationship. Consider this, how many social sector causes do you support that you have either direct contact with a representative of the organization or visit the enterprise’s physical location? Conversely, how many causes do you support only through a virtual relationship? Are there organizations that you interact with only via the internet, mail, or some form of third-party contact? If you measured the impact of these relationships does your connection to one group feel stronger?
I certainly feel more connected and inspired by the organizations that I interact with on a human-to-human level. Of course it is not possible for all the causes to reach me on this level but the degree of my engagement and philanthropic priorities lean in favor of the groups where there is a human-to-human relationship. There is a reason that colleges maintain a class agent program. It is far more meaningful to speak with a classmate than be bombarded by emails and phone calls from a member of the advancement office that you do not know. Many times, planned giving officers spend years cultivating and connecting with possible benefactors before a gift instrument is ever created.
The value of a face-to-face meeting is not going away anytime soon. As Simon pointed out, consider that even the blogging world holds a convention in Las Vegas every year. If there was ever a group that was equiped to meet on a conference call it would be bloggers but instead they choose to gather in-person instead of virtually.
So now about that $1,000…