I just got off a 3 way call between myself and 2 other people I care about very much. I have come to enjoy three way calls but occasionally one will be a bit rough. I have found these calls can be the ones that teach me the most. Here is what just happened.
First a little background. My networking company, Xango, has a charitable program in place where you can purchase meal packs to feed hungry kids in Ghana and be paid commissions on these donations . Many in the company are very excited about this because of the ability to use leverage to increase your giving power. In other words if you build a network of people who purchase the meal packs the commissions can be channeled back into more meal packs or other charities. Xango does not just supply meal packs to children but also takes on the villages to help them become self sufficient.
With this information, that I just came to really understand at the regional meeting last week, I started thinking about people I knew who would understand leverage and might be interested in the philanthropic program even if they might not be looking for income themselves. I immediately thought of a good friend of mine who has worked with the hunger project for years. I called my friend and we talked briefly and I scheduled her to talk to one of my business partners who had more knowledge of what Xango was doing. My friend was very clear that she was looking for something that was sustainable and not simply giving food. I sure felt our company was doing that.
When we all got on the phone I felt some resistance from my friend and she began to grill my partner about what other charities she had worked with. My partner listed several boards she sat on and what the projects were doing. I was very impressed because I was not aware of these projects and they were way cool. I won’t go into detail but one involved empowering inner city teenage girls by teaching them film making skills. In this project the girls got to tell their stories and this helped them build their self esteem.
I felt some interest from my friend but as soon as my partner began to explain how the meal packs and leverage would work my friend cut her off and told her she had no interest in joining a company to make money. My sponsor acknowledged this and continued to explain that not only could any money you made be channeled back into more meal packs but gave an example of a woman in her organization that was doing exactly that and how she had gone in a few months from feeding 70 kids a month to over 700 through her organization.
My friend expressed her disappointment that my partner had not been to the hunger project website to study it but as it happened the e mail I had sent with the link to the website had bounced back so I had simply talked about it with my partner and she planned to visit later. She was actually somewhat familiar with the project. My friend, at the end of the call challenged my Xango partner to donate the the hunger project and she would tell others about what we were doing but she was not interested.
I called my friend back after the call because I felt she had been very rude to my business partner and I was surprised by this. I wanted to see what was going on in her mind and she explained she felt we were not interested in her project but only wanted to get her in our organization. Well, one thing I have learned is that I can’t control what people think of me. I know what my motives were and I did not feel any need to be defensive. I stated again how powerful I felt our program was and she admitted it did have merit but was not as exciting to her as the hunger project. Because this person is such a good friend of mine I suggested to her that had she stated her case this way to my business partner she might have had an additional strong advocate but as it was my partner was offended with the dismissal of our project and not as likely to get on board. My friend admitted she could have been more gracious.
In the course of talking with my friend I found out that she was having some pretty tough health and financial challenges and was not able to do as much for any of her projects as she wanted. From the emotion in her voice I could tell that this was very hard for her and I began to understand her reaction to the excitement in my partners presentation. We never really know what is behind people’s reactions unless we care enough to ask. I am sorry my friend felt like I misled her in bringing her on the 3 way call and I am sorry she was rude to my partner. I am glad I talked to her right after the call and feel there will be no hard feelings. I feel my business partner will be understanding as well. We all want the same thing which is to help others. Communication is the key. My pastor says communication is helping someone understand how you feel, not getting them to do what you want. Based on that this call was a success. Madalyn