Jeffrey Sachs - UN SDSN

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs
UN SDSN

Let me add a few words. First of all, thank you for all of the extraordinary hard work, sweat and passion that you are putting in to this, which is essential for success because you are up against long odds and none of this is easy. Let me make two more points.

One is that we will find ways not to support every project, but we will find ways to support this effort. I do not know exactly what that will be but we will find ways to continue forward and to help support some of the projects and to help support the network of all of you. We will continue to convene and to be helpful, whether we convene here in this unique place or whether we convene virtually in a meeting online, or whether we convene by bilateral email. We will find ways to continue the work, so I do not want this to be a one time; this is to build a global movement and to build a global network. Let me give you a tip from my perspective though.

I do not think that the presentations were adequate, for the following reason: you came asking for funds, which is good and perfectly appropriate.  However, nobody mentioned a budget, nobody mentioned the costs, nobody mentioned the time horizon, nobody mentioned the justification of the funding, nobody mentioned the reporting. You are running businesses and you are asking people to hand over money – for wonderful reasons, by the way, so do not misunderstand me – but you are asking people to hand over money! So, I was asking myself in your seven minutes: did I hear what I need to hand over money? And, in general, the answer was no. Did I hear that the problem was important? Yes. Did I hear that you have passion? A million per cent. Did I hear that I should have confidence in you? A lot. Did I hear what you were asking for? Not so clearly, most of the time. Did I hear the justification financially? Not from anybody. So, this is advice, because this is a little bit of play-acting and I’m one of the judges so I am giving you my response which is that next time when you do it, because you are going to be down the block or you are going to be in front of a foundation, they are not going to be as nice as I am. They are going to say: “Well, thank you very much”. Because, when you come you should say, “We have 25,000 women under our care, the cost of this is X thousand dollars, there are not these social services available right now but at this price we are able to manage four facilities and we are able to reach this number and while we are not financially sustainable and this is not a business, we are financially sustainable in the sense that the cost per ‘wonderful result’ is very low” and this is what I am really suggesting”. Or you should say: “We have a wonderful innovative technology and we believe that the unit cost will be this but we have to do a demonstration for a thousand workers next summer, our estimated cost of that is 50,000 dollars. We believe after that this will be self-financing but we do not have the venture capital to do that trial”.

So, in none of the presentations was it clear to me what you were actually asking for. That is OK, because we would discuss it among ourselves. But next time you are going to be in a line with ten other people that are pursuing projects and if you are clear, to the point, explaining, “Here is what this is for, we are funding two offices for staff, we plan to have five thousand students covered, we will be able to give you a report quarterly”, you will get funding, because the justifications are there. But you have to make them.

So, I want you to sharpen the message, because, as I said, I am going out to pitch for you and they are going to ask me these questions. I am going to say, “Well, I already know those answers, because the projects are very clear in coverage and scope. Is this a demonstration? Is this a research project? Is this a service delivery project? What other facilities is this adding to?”

So, again, we are starting this effort together and many of you are going to be doing this for many years, I want you to make sharp, clear asks. The sharper, the clearer, the more specific, the more you will get.

So, one minute on the passion, three minutes on the financial model, one minute to close why you can be trusted. And then say, “Here is the address to send the check”. Seriously, that is your business right now. You are running businesses. You are running social businesses for the highest purposes that we have, for helping people in incredible vulnerability, and you are doing a wonderful job and really, as I said, I cannot even imagine, I do not want to think back of myself at your age how we were moving around in circles without even the concept of doing this kind of work so, you are way ahead of the game, but sharpen the arguments from a business point of view. I am not saying to lose the values; I am saying to close the deal, because that is what we are really trying to do right now, is to move the real resources that you need, the real help, and for that you need to specify it. If you are going to bring the hotels together do you need something extra? Or is it that: “We are going to do it and this is what we are doing and thank you for listening” or, “I need the following help to do it: I need two staff for the following year to organize this, because the hotels will come on their own and I have got somebody who is going to provide the venue, but I need two staff and they need to eat this year, so I need twenty-five thousand dollars to run this meeting and imagine the huge results that will come from that”. That is what I want to hear from you, but more importantly, much more importantly, that is what your funders are going to want to hear from you. What are you asking for? And why? And once we get past the threshold that it is important, what are you doing, what do you need in order to make this work.

So, it is truly wonderful what you are doing and we will do our best to help you and you will do your best to help us help you, and we will work in a very practical way now, because that is what I am emphasizing, to find a system for us to continue the discussions, the networking, the partnerships and, I hope, the financial help. I can never promise that, because that, we just have to be conduits to make the case and to help be able to deliver that but I think you have collectively made a very strong case and you have made a wonderful impression also, and for that we are really grateful. You are wonderful people. Thank you for doing it, thank you for being here and we do continue.

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