Money saves lives: a baby in Nicaragua receiving the Rotavirus vaccine

For the record, I don’t believe in “social justice” (but that’s a story for another time). However, I feel the need to challenge what you feel about money. If you have no issues with money, just skip this page.

But if you’re a good person who wants to make the world a better place, and you think money is bad… I have a bone to pick with you…

You kill someone every time you refuse money.
I’m not kidding. You don’t have to look very hard to find families surviving off less than a dollar a day, or someone dying for reasons that a small sum of money (to you) can solve. And if you want to look a little broader: in developing countries, more than 1 in 2 children under 5 years die because of malnutrition.

So if you care about making the world a better place, but you refuse money when you’re in a position to get money in exchange for improving people’s lives… you are a hypocrite. Even if you don’t keep the money for yourself, you can use it to save lives — make a donation to sponsor vaccininations, build a school, buy books, train farmers, sponsor teachers, donate formula to orphaned babies…

Each time you don’t accept money that someone is willing to give you, you kill the people you can help with money, due to your narrow-minded selfishness.

Money is neither good nor evil.
Money doesn’t corrupt. If you’re an ass, money will make you a bigger ass. But if you are a good person, more money gives you greater means to do good.

Money gives you the freedom to do good.
There’s a president of a non-profit I won’t name, that helps severely disabled children. He refuses to pay himself more than a meager $X a month, even when people give him donations specifically to support his family. As a result, in hard times, he is forced to take a second job to support his family. He thinks he’s being altruistic… but because he won’t keep the money that was meant for him, he now has to steal his time away from the children. It’s a horrible trade because his time is much more valuable than the money — anyone can give money, but without his time, everything ceases to exist.

You can do more good with money than without
If you run an organization and you’re proud of the work you can do for free, ask yourself this: What you could do if you had more money? How many more lives could you save with an extra $10,000? $100,000?

Money can multiply results
Black-eyed peas are a protein-rich crop that thrives in West and Central Africa. Well adapted to harsh, arid climates, a staple ingredient in many meals, and the primary income source for millions of African families, the highly prized crop has just one downside: it’s as popular among pests as it is among farmers. Each year, up to 50% of cowpeas in Africa are lost after harvest because of infestations by tiny weevils.

The solution? An inexpensive $2 triple-layer bag that protects the cowpeas from weevils during long-term storage. The result? No more losses due to weevil attacks. The verdict? With the “Free” option: 50% of every harvest is lost. With $2 bags: almost 100% of the harvest stays good. Do you still want to insist that free is better?

You are helping improve people’s lives
If you are conning, scamming or hurting people, then sure, you should feel guilty about taking money and you deserve to have many bad things happen to you. But if you are truly providing value, helping and serving people… and your clients live better lives after meeting you, are happy with the results and they would love to give you money… why should you feel guilty about it?

If you don’t take their money, someone else will
If you choose not to help someone, they will pay someone else for the solution to their problems. It could be someone who will give them less value, conduct business with less integrity, not take care of them as well as you will, and not deliver the results you can. If have a problem and they’re going to spend money on a solution anyway, why not with you?

People want to give you money
If you do a fantastic job, people will be happy to give you money. They would see it as money well spent for any number of reasons, e.g., they are happy they found someone they could trust, they feel at peace knowing that you have their best interest in mind, you exceeded all their expectations, you helped them achieve their dreams, etc. By denying them the opportunity to reward you, you are robbing them of a chance to be happy.

Your values are not your buyers’ values
Just because you have your hang-ups about money, doesn’t mean you should impose your values on your customers and rob them of the satisfaction of giving you money. Take the money. If you really don’t want to keep it, donate it and save some lives.

I saw a happy customer at a mom-and-pop store one day, about to pay for a job well done. To his surprise, the owner of the store refused his payment. I guess the owner’s reasoning was to “build a relationship”, but the customer became really upset, and he kept insisting… saying that “it’s unfair”; and virtually begging the owner to let him pay. You see, paying for a job well done was part of his belief system. By denying him that, he was upset because he wasn’t given the opportunity to act consistently with his beliefs. Eventually, he gave up, thanked the owner bitterly, and left the store in low spirits.

Don’t forget the reason you’re doing this
If you don’t take care of yourself and your family, no one else will. You have to provide for your own needs first, in order to have the freedom to help others.

You give people better results by letting them pay more
People rate the same wine as tasting better when they are told it is more expensive.[1] People given the same pain reliever feel less pain when they are told that the pills they have taken are sold at full price (and not discounted).[2] Athletes taking the same sports drink perform better when they are told that their drink was more expensive.

You enjoyed paying someone or buying something in the past
What was the last thing you bought that made you very happy? It could have been an exceptional product, service or experience. You had no regrets, and you felt that what you got was much more than what you paid for. You might have said, “This is the best money I’ve spent in my entire life.” It might have even given you memories that you’ll cherish forever.

Would you say you were ripped off? Were you unhappy you paid for it? I bet not.

So you should understand why people would love to pay you for a job well done, and you should strive to be that good.

What you think you are worth has nothing to do with what some people are willing to pay
If you search for “gourmet candy apples”, you’ll easily find some being sold for $23 with $12 shipping (each). Ridiculous? Maybe to you. But not to the people who buy them (and love them).

You don’t have to relate… just give people what they want.

People are more committed to improving themselves when they give you money
People who commit time or money are more likely to value what they receive more, and are more likely to take action.[3]

This list is by no means comprehensive. I just figured that if what I’ve written thus far has no impact on you, you’re hopeless and I’m not going to waste any more time on you about this.

On the other hand, if you agree with even one thing I’ve written above and you want to get over your hangups, there’s hope for you yet.

In any case, I hope I’ve given you some good reasons to reconsider your position on money. Let me know what you think below.