Self Interest + Idealism = Life?

Nashville-based LifeSharers is encouraging organ donation by offering people an incentive to give.  As reported in Friday's Wall Street Journal, 3,500 people have agreed to donate organs that would be first offered to another member of LifeSharers.

"Kindness aside, each member's goal is to increase his chances of receiving a transplant, should he ever need one, by giving other people an incentive to sign up in the hope of increasing their chances."

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the folks who administer the national listing and matching program, question the "fairness" of the LifeSharers program.  But isn't any program that boosts organ donations better than letting 20,000 transplantable organs rot each year?  The head of LifeSharers, David Undis, thinks the current system "seems to be more interested in the equal distribution of death than in preventing deaths."

Let's face it: people aren't naturally altruistic, and pure altruism is very rare.  Even people like Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul got a lot of personal satisfaction and benefits out of their noble, largely unselfish work.  Most people need to be incentivized.  It's part of human nature.  As cause marketers we should always be on the lookout for how we can satisfy needs and solve problems.  Like any good doctor, we should always ask: "where does it hurt."

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