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Honestly, man, we don’t. My advice is to go down the street to Bruegger’s Bagels. Their bagel sandwiches and lunch specials are second-to-none.

Because I work remotely, I often office out of coffee shops. Today, I happen to be working at Caribou Coffee in downtown Denver. When the lunch hour rolled around, I asked one of the baristas if Caribou sold any good lunch food. Without a second-thought, he pointed me down the street to Bruegger’s, a direct competitor.

While Caribou lost the two bucks I would have spent on a blueberry muffin, in the end they will have gained a lot more! The barista was concerned, more than anything, about my interests. He put himself in my shoes. He knew that a blueberry muffin wouldn’t hack it. And you know what? The guy garnered instant credibility from me. Anybody can get you to buy their product. It takes someone special to gain your loyalty.
This is true in economics as well. Protectionist economy policies never work. While it seems more advantageous to focus on our jobs, our economies and our communities, it has proven that will hinder vibrant economic growth. When we open our borders and trade freely with our neighbors, only then will we see flourishing happen in our own communities.
I think about this often in regards to fundraising. We talk about this as a team at HOPE. We need to be committed to Missio Dei, not solely to the our organization’s mission. We have to be focused on the grander story of what God is doing in the world, not on building our own closed-walled fortresses. Sometimes, as a HOPE representative, that means I need to be willing to open-handedly introduce potential and current HOPE donors to other organizations, and, yes, even to “competing” ministries. In doing so, by being responsive to the needs, interests and passions of those who I meet with, hopefully these folks will know, with confidence, that I care more about them than I do about their resources.
I so often fail…and meet with folks with my “HOPE blinders” firmly in place. But, then I remember the wise words of the Apostle Paul, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:4-5)
Well, time to get back to work. And you better believe I’ll buy an afternoon latte from this savvy barista to power me through to the weekend.