Q: When “You know you have more than enough, what do you do with more than enough?”
A: This question is at the core of every person’s humanity and remains a very personal question only You can answer.
Q: How do I find good projects, communities or People to support?
A: The world is absolutely full of opportunities to help People, one simply needs to change their paradigm and open one’s heart to see the endless opportunities to better someone else’s life. Ask yourself “what speaks to me?” “What areas of influence to I want to be involved with?” “How can I make a difference in this situation?”
Q: Should I decide what to provide People or let the Person or Community decide what they need or want?
A: Ask yourself what speaks to you, is it providing a service, a product, overlaying your religious convictions onto others with an item attached? Ask yourself, if you put yourself in their shoes what would you want? If you’re not sure of the answer, may we suggest you ask them…”What do you need?” “How can we help you?” Our experience attending multiple United Nations Conferences for Indigenous Peoples revealed to us one important message over and over again, that People crave Self-Determination. Everyone around the world has an opinion and their unique needs and wants depending on their paradigm of the world and their unique set of circumstances. When we overlay our paradigms on them and bring our religion, our shoes, our projects…our, our, our, then we lose sight of the fact that we are there to help them, or are we? Surrender control and by doing so, it gives Respect and Dignity to those you’re there to help.
Ask yourself, are you a water well driller, a school builder, a computer provider, a medical provider, a farm animal buyer or are you a supporter of Human Rights who enables others by asking questions and respecting what the community asks for. I find it rather interesting and ironic that our foundation has funded over 67 projects in 56 countries spanning all reaches of the world, yet no community has asked us to drill a water well or to preach religion to them! It’s not that water is not important and that we only do projects in Greenland where clean water is abundant, it’s that when given the choice, all of our communities we listened to, asked for more urgent and important items for themselves. We’re glad to support a water well on our next community project, they simply need to ask us.
Q: How much money should I give, how do I decide?
A: Ask yourself, will I miss this money tomorrow or regret giving this amount out to someone? If the answer is no, then give that amount and try to give more the next time. One of the expressions I love to use is that “If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not giving”. This expression drives us to give more than a simple insignificant amount. This quote additionally takes into account that everyone has a different budget. A $5 gift may be a lot of money for someone to let go of, so it’s an important sacrifice to them and that’s great. To someone else, maybe their sacrifice amount is $100,000 or even $10mm, so we recommend giving this amount. If you won’t miss it and it doesn’t hurt, raise your level of sharing. Remember, “you can’t take it with you when you go”. All kings have tried and that’s why we have museums to see their relics left behind.
Q: How do I decide who deserves our support the most when I have to prioritize?
A: You will experience endless mental debates on who you “should” help based simply on their needs or your perception of their needs for financial help. Poverty is simply the “disparity between the haves and the have nots” or “the rich verses the poor” not the lack of western things. Many parts of the world are full of emotional riches with communities full of happy, People, natural resources and beauties; however, they may lack the comforts of “western societies” where we come from. Before you jump to conclusions that they all need our comforts, ask yourself, “if you asked them, what would they say is important?” Consider asking them to discuss with you what they need.
Q: If I allow the person or community to decide what they need, what if the community doesn’t use the money they way we initially agreed to?
A: So long as the money does not get into the hands of “the bad guys” and is not stolen, then the money will go to support the community overall and these funds will help members in ways they feel best. As long as the community overall has more financial resources after you arrived, that’s the most important thing, not that you did “the perfect thing in the community”.
Q: What are the logistics of funding a project?
A: We have almost always found that we cannot trust the leaders of communities or states, so we fund directly to the communities themselves in front of 100% of the community. By being fully transparent with our contribution, this allows the entire community to witness our contribution, providing full transparency and trust within the community. Everyone sees everything so no one can say, we didn’t get the money wired to the leader who have an account far away in the big city. In the majority of the cases we’ve found, the leaders on top in villages, towns or city abuse those below them, that’s how they got on top. If you have to bet on someone within the community to trust, let the village elect those who they trust to secure the funds for your community project. Usually they trust the grandmothers who will never leave their family or their community they spent their entire life with. Alternatively, we don’t recommend trusting the young men in the villages who will disappear with entrusted funds to another country or squander those funds.
Q: What kind of follow up and checking do you do, what should I do?
A: For our foundation, our mandate is to provide Dignity and Respect supporting Marginalized and Oppressed People. Our responsibility is to Share collectively with entire communities. As long as everyone shares everything, whatever that is, we’ve done our job! During our 3-4-day community workshops, the People collectively decide what they want to do. We also realize that things change and opinions change over time. For our organization, we do not pin them down to tightly, we allow them the Dignity to modify their initial plans as life happens. So long as the community is working together and they exhibit a sense of collectiveness and cohesion, our foundation lets go of the details and believes in them to work things out. So long as the funds are shared, it really doesn’t matter what they use the funds for because our organization’s main purpose is simply to Share with People financially less fortunate. Those who focus on the details too much, should question whose project is it anyway or who’s ego is in the way of progress? As long as the money is not stolen, why does it matter which way they choose to spend it?
Q: Is it dangerous doing humanitarian work?
A: Yes it can be. Your tolerance to risk will determine the level of risk you are willing to take. It goes without mention, that most of the world’s most horrific and catastrophic issues necessitating humanitarian aid involve war, famine, disease, pandemics, ignorance and poverty all caused by abusive or corrupt governments. Whenever you step into their world, there are risks seen and some unseen associated with your attempt to help their People. With war, famine, disease and natural disaster the risks speak for themselves. Most often, when you attempt to help those most vulnerable in society, the poor and uneducated, they are byproducts of Abusive and Corrupt governments that, by design keep people in this situation for a reason. When you attempt to resolve some of their issues, often their governments take objection to your intervention and may take action and it may be serious. Consider that roughly 100 journalists are killed annually because they reported on high level corruption of officials around the world. There have been numerous times when the Inti Raymi Fund has been taken into custody, held and questioned and threatened by these governments’ officials who didn’t want our help for their Marginalized and Oppressed Peoples. They agents either wanted us to leave the country or fund through their governments’ charity organizations which they control the funds. Needless to say, we were disgusted to experience these atrocities many times.
Q: What difference do my efforts make in the world?
A: The short answer is that if it makes People happy or better off, then you’ve done a great job and your efforts have made a difference in their lives. How much is one life worth?
Q: What types of humanitarian work should I focus on?
A: Whatever speaks to you, would be the short answer. If you’re working in this service sector helping People but there is no “Spark of Joy” in it for you, then your successes will fade away as your interest does. It is very important that you follow your Passion and interest which is deeply rooted in “who you are as a person”. To truly sustain philanthropy, you must sustain the donor and to do this, you must maintain a positive user experience for you the donor. Find what you’re passionate about and run with it!
Q: What do I do to prevent burn out?
A: Burnout with Adrenaline Philanthropy, as I like to call it, can be tough. Sort of like “pulling on the thread of a sweater” there is no end in sight with the need of People in the world. All you can do is all you can do. You must always maintain a sense of self-awareness, self-compassion and ensure you take care of yourself as well. This self-help includes enough sleep, exercise, diet, sharing the load with team members, and mental debriefing or counseling to discuss the issues you’ve witnessed in the field. These demons if unchecked can stay with you and develop into PTSD or Compassion Fatigue, rending you and your efforts less productive as a result. I have personal experience with all of this.
Q: Does the Inti Raymi Fund take volunteers along?
A: On a selective basis, we have in the past and would entertain bringing someone along with us; however, we would ask the volunteer the question which J.F. Kennedy asked Americans back in the early 60’s… ”Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country?”. The point being, what are you contributing to our expeditions, to the community we are helping, or to the betterment of yourself? Bringing along a volunteer typically costs us on average $4,500/expedition after it is all said and done. This added cost on top of our $25,000 project cost, may be better spent donating to another community or the next project unless you bring something to the table. If you’re interested, let’s discuss.