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[IP] Beyond Bill Gates

I wrote:
>> [The Gates Foundation's] grant guidelines specifically 
>> exclude "Interventions that will provide substantial 
>> or earlier health benefits for industrialized countries."
>> I'm not saying that Melissa's letter shouldn't be 
>> sent; I'm just wondering if Bill Gates (or the 
>> Gates Foundation) is the right place to send it.

Michael pointed out:
>Diabetes is a world wide problem. The 20 million + 1million or so 
>T1's in the US is just the tip of the iceberg.

That's true. But as Natalie points out, the kind of research
we've been talking about on this list is much more likely to 
benefit people in developed countries than in developing 
countries. That's exactly what the Gates Foundation says 
that it doesn't fund.

One of the basic principles of fundraising is to know your
audience. You ask for money from the people you think 
are most likely to give. You tailor your request so that it
appeals to what you know (or guess) matters to the person 
you're asking.

I learned this when I was canvassing for an environmental 
organization. In working class neighborhoods, I'd talk about
toxic waste; in ritzy neighborhoods, I'd talk about property
values and air pollution; if I saw mountain bikes on the front
porch, I'd talk about wilderness preservation and outdoor 
recreation; if I saw parents or grandparents with a house 
full of kids, I'd talk about saving the planet for future gener-
ations. I might talk about more than one of these things, 
depending on the situation. But to a working class family 
with five kids, I would *not* spend any time talking about 
saving the spotted owl.

I also found out that spending too much effort trying to get
a reluctant person to donate was counter-productive. It didn't 
get me anywhere, and it alienated the person I was asking. I 
learned to cut my losses. I learned to focus on the people that 
were more likely to give me money. I learned to walk away 
once I realized that someone had no intention of giving.

It would be great if Bill Gates gave to the JDRF. But I 
don't think he's going to.  He's got a lot of people asking
him for money, and he's very sensibly decided to form a
foundation that focuses the giving in a few specific areas.
The Gates Foundations healthcare donations are going to 
programs that serve developing countries, particularly
maternal and child health. 

I think it would be better to find a more likely candidate
to take up the banner for diabetes research. 

For that matter, since Insulin Pumpers is not a research 
organization, what are we talking about? Asking Bill Gates 
to donate to the JDRF? If the JDRF thinks that there's a 
remote possibility that Bill Gates might give them anything, 
they've probably asked him already, more than once. Unless
we have a better idea of where to put the money than giving
it to the JDRF, maybe it would make more sense for more 
of us to get involved in the JDRF (or whatever other diabetes
research organization we prefer) and help it develop its fund-
raising efforts.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from soliciting donations
for diabetes research. I'm just trying to point out that there 
are more and less effective ways to do it.

/Janet L.

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