When we see a book or even a person, we automatically evaluate many things from what data we have, mostly visual. This is natural and fine. But the cover can be a poor representation of the person or the book, depending on many factors.
The empowered volunteer must always approach someone who could be a candidate for their group with an open mind.
The person before you could be very wealthy and just not displaying their high status at the time you meet them, if they ever display such status. In your SWOT analysis you should have addressed this subject so you already know what to do.
If favors are what you need, ask for it directly but politely. If you are looking for positive actions, make sure you are specific. Remember, wealthy people are very passionate people already. They made their wealth through that passion if they are self-made, so show yours for your cause and they will more than likely respect that part of your presentation. Stay optimistic even if they are multitasking as you are making your presentation. Keep the faith in knowing that what you offer can help them every bit as much as a lower status person. Rich or poor, everyone sees health benefits from volunteering.
Treat every person as important and worthy no matter how they speak, look, or act. Obviously don’t solicit memberships from locked up criminals or other parts of society where the person may have challenges that prevent them from participating fully in your group. But otherwise, be open minded to everyone.
Consider in the caption above the leather bound book of poems from 1721. For a book in the hands of one who doesn’t own fancy books in glass cases and special atmospheres, this may look out of place in a normal home. Most people who are not wealthy don’t own such old books.
However, the cover is the best part of this old book. Once you open it, a page is torn, writing from when it was transferred between owners is reflected in the inside cover, in short it is not worthy of a collector’s attention even if it is old. It has no collector value at all. It is neat to hold a book that was printed before Ben Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence but neat is pretty much the value of this book, beyond family memories or other intrinsic values it could have.
Bill Walton, of Wal-Mart fame was well known for driving an old pickup long after he became very wealthy. If you did not know it, his dress and car did not give away his status or wealth on many occasions if you met him on a weekend somewhere.
Never prejudge a person by any outward appearances. They may be rich or they may be drowning in debt while looking and driving really fancy cars and owning a great home in a high status neighborhood. You don’t know and if they are willing and capable of volunteering, you really don’t care. Either way your offer helps them in many ways, so be proud and offer them the opportunity to volunteer.
You should also understand that to a high degree, those that are wealthy are also involved in raising funds for charity.
In his fascinating book in 2000 The Millionaire Mind, Thomas J. Stanley, PH. D. noted, “that nearly 2/3 of the millionaires (64%) engaged in this activity in the past twelve months, and there was a very positive correlation between their activity and net worth”. The take away is, as an empowered volunteer you may be setting yourself up with many who have had or are on their way towards real monetary success. Successful people are drawn to noble pursuits in many cases.
Dr. Stanley further writes, “Financially successful people and the next generation of economically productive people volunteer”.
He expounds on the notion that most of those who attain high wealth were volunteering long before they attained their status or wealth. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States wrote a book written in 2007, Giving, How Each of US Can Change the World, which told of his life long history of volunteering. I doubt you will run into Bill Clinton in your empowered volunteer prospecting, but a young up and coming person could be sitting at the next place you stop!
To drive this point home just a bit further we will dip into Thomas J. Stanley’s 2004 next book, The Millionaire Women Next Door which details the difference between men and women of high wealth and status. He writes, “Women are more likely, however, to be involved in community or civic volunteer work (77 percent versus 67 percent). Overall, within the same age groups and income cohorts, businesswomen are less likely than their male counterparts to demonstrate patronage habits that advertise their status”.
Now consider the above caption, a book leather bound, pulled from next to a series of Time Life books on The Old West, with covers that resemble this book when casually handled. This book might fool you in its worth, it is fairly rare and is valued, depending on who is publishing the review at over two thousand dollars! Yet it doesn’t look to be much more than the Time Life books of the same size! The topic is narrow and for many people not particularly interesting.
Never judge a book by its cover, just as you should not judge a person!
Why does this matter? Everyone is the same when it comes to volunteering from the empowered volunteer point of view, right? Wrong on all fronts is that line of thinking. Wealthy people can be of huge help to your cause if you are open minded, with their high social capital and robust networks. Remember in earlier posts the rule to always ask for referrals? Wealthy people usually have networks as worthy as their status. Now think about that. If their status is high, they often can provide insight for you to people who are open to your message even if they are not.
People who can also engage their networks effectively are a unique brand and they are also unique for your offering! Taylor your offer accordingly. Ask for their help if their time can’t be given.
I am not saying target wealthy people. I am saying that they operate on different wavelengths and as an empowered volunteer you need to adjust your message for them. If they can’t help by directly being involved perhaps they can make some calls to suggest referrals who are up and coming as they once were?
These referrals are often as valuable as gold because the wealthy often know who can and will do things. They tend not to waste time on wild goose chases so they provide solid referrals. Treasure these if you manage to get some from a high status person.