Time vs. Money

Many people shy away from the process of asking others for a financial gift.   Interestingly, the level of trepidation usually is much lower when people are confronted with the task of asking someone to spend their time (and not their money) helping out a good cause.

Based on the differential responses to these activities, it would not be unreasonable for an observer to infer that money must be much more valuable than time.  Hence, the reason people don’t like asking others for money, but have little difficulty asking for people’s time.

But which, truly, is more valuable?  A person’s time or their money?

There is an old saying, “My time is far more valuable than my money.  I can always make more money.”

Maybe we have it all wrong.  Maybe asking for money should be the easier of the requests.


1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Thank you, Jason, for highlighting the preciousness of time to most people. Maybe your words will encourage nonprofit CEOs and development staff to be more appreciative of the time that people give to their organizations.

    In particular, I say this on behalf of board members who are berated for falling short in the “get and give” categories, even though they give many hours a year of their time.

    Okay, I admit that I’m still smarting from my end-of-the-year experience with the nonprofit for which I serve as board chair. Prep work for the January board meeting overlapped with the year-end fundraising push. I was bombarded by four letters, 6 email messages, and one voice mail message from the organization in November and December, all urging me to give my “best gift” a before December 31. (The appeals continued to flow even after I had sent a gift. I guess it didn’t qualify as “best.”)

    The requests for money piled up as I put in the equivalent of 10 days re-working board policies, crafting the meeting agenda, talking with committee chairs, and wrapping up recruitment of two new board members. I’m a self-employed consultant, so this represented a significant commitment of billable hours.

    Don’t get me wrong. My willingness to take on the big assignment of chairing a nonprofit board isn’t because I crave praise or appreciation. I serve because I care deeply about the mission of the organization. Nonetheless, it would be nice if the CEO made a least a show of attaching worth to the time that I and other board members commit to the organization.

    Better yet, I wish she would recognize that a commitment to good governance is our “best” gift to the organization. The checks we write are the frosting on the cake.

    Sorry for venting. Obviously, your post struck a nerve for me.

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