Is it OK to make money while doing good?.

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Not only Ok but vital to your livelihood and your cause.  I’ve heard people complain about the salaries paid to  directors of non profits.  They say things like “if she really were in it for the better good, she would do it for free.” Or,  “I resent that part of my donation (to a particular charity) goes to paying a director’s salary.”

Do these same people believe that their doctor shouldn’t charge a fee or that public defenders should do their jobs pro-gratis? I don’t believe that the people who research cancer treatments or those who develop cleaner fuel sources feel the least bit guilty about getting paid well to do good in the world. 

So why is it that many entrepreneurs who want to make a difference by addressing social issues feel they shouldn’t command a reasonable income to do what they feel passionate about? 

The truth is, non profits do pay nice director’s salaries and as a result attract the best, most effective staff. If everyone who wanted to make a difference had to be a full time volunteer, we would not have the effective leadership to make positive change.  Most of us need to make a living and it takes the brightest, highly driven and most dedicated executives to direct change. If those people couldn’t make a good living as change agents, they’d have to be corporate leaders and just do what they can for a cause in their spare time. I, personally, am thrilled to have the best and brightest heading up causes I feel strongly about. and I am happy to see them making what they are worth to make changes in the world. 

If your dream involves making a difference but you don’t see how you can make a living as a social entrepreneur, the first step is to examine your attitudes about wealth and adjust your mindset around money. You likely have a gift to share with the world and it has monetary value. If a corporation was to hire you to use your talent to set up and run a particular department, you’d expect to be paid well for your expertise. As a social entrepreneur, you have even greater value. 

As you are dreaming of making a difference,  think about what special skills you have that you’ll use to implement change. Then consider what you’d expect to be paid to do this job in corporate America. That is the value you should place on your new “job” and figure that into the overall plan. It may involve some creative financing or grants, and you won’t make that salary overnight, but it is your “value” and you have no reason to feel anything but generous about giving your time and talents in exchange for income. 

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