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Passion is not enough

February 10, 2012

So, although Kristof’s article proposed Maggie Doyne as the cover girl for D.I.Y. aid and the triumph of passionate amateurs over stuffy institutionalized professionalism, Doyne’s approach can in fact be seen as the opposite of D.I.Y. Rather than the triumph of the individual, Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School are an example of the power of local communities, with support, to come together to build solutions to their own greatest challenges.

Moreover, Doyne herself is an example of how much more than passion is needed in order to make a positive difference in the world…

Just as passionate persistence without professional skills won’t get you a part in The Hobbit, good intentions without professional skill won’t result in doing the good you intend.

But, as Algoso noted, we all start as amateurs. So the question is not whether or not you already have all the skills you need to get that part on The Hobbit, or make a positive contribution to a social problem that moves you. The question is whether you are willing to take your passion, and your persistence, and direct them towards acquiring the skills, knowledge and collaborators you need.

This is from an article at the Huffington Post by Marianne Elliott.

The sentence “good intentions without professional skill won’t result in doing the good you intend” is a powerful one. We tend to believe that as long as we have passion and a desire to help and do good, that will be enough to actually make a difference. The problem is that if you do not know how to effectively help, then you run the risk of doing more harm than good. Too many non-profits these days are staffed by people that want to help, but have never taken the time, as Maggie Doyne as done, to commit themselves to the study of the best practice of development.

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