This is what we’ve heard – when a butterfly flaps its wings it can start a hurricane on the other side of the world. The idea being that a tiny movement can initiate unanticipated activities. We hope you will join us in a burgeoning butterfly movement of unintended positive consequences.
Here’s the back story. We were watching the show CBS Sunday Morning when we saw a segment of Chris Rosati of Durham North Carolina. He is living with ALS and chose – on a whim – to give two girls at a restaurant $50 each. He asked them to each do something kind for someone else. It was a no-strings gift to girls he might not ever see again. The girls gave the money to a village in Sierra Leone where they knew villagers were fighting ebola. And, they shared their experience with Rosati, who had never thought he would hear from them. He was so delighted he has announced plans to give out butterfly grants – $50 each – to kids who want to change the world.
Needless to say we were moved. We have vowed to be butterfly agents! That means giving people we know and love a gift that is equal to or greater than the amount we would have spent on a gift, and asking them to do something good for someone else. It will cut down on the challenges of trying to find the perfect gift. More seriously we want to be part of this new “butterfly movement.”
And, we want you to consider being a butterfly! You may never know what you set in motion, but we feel it will be something good. Here’s our plan: first birthday on our calendar is our nine year old niece. We will give her the gift money, ask her to do something nice for someone else, and ask her to let us know what she did. She may tell us, she may not.
Our goal is for her to contemplate “who can I help?” We look forward to learning her. Our hope is that the adults we touch with this type of gift – and the ones you touch – will also have a child-like moment of stopping and pondering, “what can I do for someone else?”
It’s an intriguing proposition. The money is suddenly in your hands. You don’t have to decide how much to give, just who to give to. It’s different from being asked to make a gift to a nonprofit – though that’s a good choice. And of course there’s the chance that once receiving such a gift you – or your friends – will choose to give others such a butterfly gift.
View the Chris Rosati video online at ButterFly Gift.
Image courtesy of akeeris at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.