Those who know me well, know that I am extremely passionate about non-profit organizations. Giving back is in my blood. I’ve worked with at-risk youth teaching pre-employment skills and I’ve managed outreach and assistance programs to help low-income individuals get a hand up, not a hand out (the programs I was involved with ranged from life skills classes, to energy assistance, to creating stronger families, food bank services, programs to provide support to grieving children and more).

I’ve managed to combine my passion for giving and my natural ability as an expert marketer to give back when I can. During a stint as board chairperson, I helped a non-profit organization gain more marketing exposure, triple revenue, become a Twin County United Way member and hire their first paid employee. While I’m proud of these accomplishments I don’t talk about them a lot. Not because they are not important — I know giving back is important — but because I didn’t do any of that work to receive any special recognition. Most people who give, give from the heart because it’s the right thing to do. But, I wonder if we should be having more discussions about the importance of giving and setting clear examples for others?

This brings me to the controversy surrounding ABC’s Secret Millionaire program. First I’ll start by saying I LOVE the show. I am so tired of reality TV that doesn’t have a heart or purpose I could just scream (instead of screaming I don’t tune into those programs). I haven’t missed an episode of Secret Millionaire because it has heart, there is a purpose and it focuses on doing the right thing. The show is giving exposure to many non-profit organizations that viewers probably would not have heard of otherwise. My guess is, in addition to the money donated by the “Secret Millionaires” ,those organizations will get more donations based on increased awareness alone. By the way, the “Secret Millionaires” are doling out $100,000.00 of their own money. Anyway, the exposure for the non-profits and the heart of the people involved is impressive. I also applaud the courage of the “Secret Millionaires” who have agreed to come forward and give publicly. It takes courage and it’s brining up some BIG issue surrounding money for people. I even had a few people lambaste me on social media because I’m so supportive of the show (I deleted their posts – hee).

While I would agree that giving solely to get exposure is wrong– I don’t believe for a minute that any of the “Secret Millionaires” agreed to expose themselves in this way solely to gain publicity. That can easily be achieved with marketing and advertising techniques that can cost WAY less than $100,000.00.

Right now, Ali Brown is under fire from some for giving in the spotlight on ABC’s Secret Millionaire. Knowing her personally and knowing how this experience has changed her life I don’t support the naysayers.

I’d like to hear your take. So, feel free to weigh in here. Ali is an expert blogger for Forbes and she recently wrote about her experience with Secret Millionaire here. So feel free to visit Forbes and share your thoughts, too.

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