Why I Named My Website 'Selfish Giving'

I think this is the first Selfish Giving masthead.

I think this is the first Selfish Giving masthead.

It started as almost a joke. It was 2005 and I was wracking my brain trying to choose a name for my new website. I can't even remember the other names I was considering. Even then it felt like all the good web domains were taken! But, truthfully, you could still get many great domains with a vowel!

Back then, people were still trying to come up with clever names for their websites. If I had started my site a few years later I probably would have just gone with my name, JoeWaters.com.

I remember talking to my friend and colleague, Joanna MacDonald (who co-wrote Cause Marketing with Dummies with me five years later), about what to call it. We both viewed cause marketing as something businesses did to get something back. "It's kind of like selfish giving," one of us said. I smile and nodded. One of us was right and the name stuck.

Calling my site Selfish Giving might have been a good thing because it forced me to stay focused on cause marketing. Truthfully, if I had gone with my name for a domain I could have easily pivoted to a different interest, like history or gardening or another fundraising topic. Maybe I would be world famous now as a leading blogger on the American Revolution or something. Who knows what could have been! 

Truthfully, changing my domain to a different name wouldn't have been that hard. But I've never seriously considered it. I love cause marketing! It's interesting. And I still think Selfish Giving works because personal motives drive a lot of our actions, including giving.

You might be a business that wants more customers. Maybe you want your next door neighbor to get off your back about donating to their charity walk. Or perhaps you're trying to curry favor with your boss by donating to his favorite charity.

I used to think that the only example of true altruism was giving anonymously. But Larry David reminded me that giving anonymously isn't always anonymous. People want the credit.  


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