Putting the “R” Back in ROI
Denise Logan

Adapted from my post “What Harvey Can Teach Us About ROI…”

The callous use of a common phrase in someone else’s blog post shocked me.

The writer used the common acronym “ROI”.

But he couched it as “Relief on Investment” in describing how to choose a charity to support victims of Tropical Storm Harvey, which at the time had just devastated south Texas.

My anger flared.

How the hell did we just equate relief of people’s suffering with an investment philosophy?  Yes, money matters.  But is it what matters most?

Hurricane Harvey was a devastating 2017 storm that battered Texas. When we watched the news and social media feeds coming out of Houston, many of us were alternating between pangs of grief, guilt and gratitude.  Gratitude that we were watching from a distance, safely ensconced in our dry homes with our children and belongings surrounding us.  Grief as we witnessed the suffering of those being plucked from the still roiling waters, their faces contorted with pain and loss and confusion.  And guilt as we tried to discern how we can help.

Our hearts broke as we watched others suffer.  We felt lost and wondered how we could best help.  Should we send money? Dry socks? Food items?

Many of us experience that same sense of helplessness and have reached out to the people closest to us in acts of localized kindness as we’ve witnessed tragedies across the globe – the tsunamis, earthquakes, terror bombings…wars.

We change our Facebook profile pictures to show our solidarity with victims of distant tragedies, we open our wallets to aid organizations.  We even travel across the country to cheer for Batman as he transforms an ordinary city into Gotham City to fulfill a final wish for a cancer-stricken child.

We are wired for empathy…Even if the situation feels impossible. But the “ROI” of helping? Isn’t the “return” intrinsic?

The blog post that angered me spoke about how we should measure the value of our charitable contributions. The post’s author is a good guy, he just got caught up in using the wrong benchmarks of success.  Of course, money matters and it’s important.  But, as Harvey helped us see, when tragedy strikes, the metrics that matter are the ones that reflect where we regularly invest .

Kindness is what matters and it’s always there, ready to be shared.

Small investment, big return.  When you benchmark your ROI against it every day, you’ll find it heralds a success greater than any other you might have thought you were chasing.

This got me thinking about how we can invest in our clients that we work with. How can we invest in our clients and make a meaningful impact in their life? How do we measure the return on investment in these relationships?

When I zoom back to my business, and to the advisors I work with, the ROI always seems better when there is respect and trust on both sides of the deal table.very deal, there is a moment where the parties either trust each other or everything falls apart. What if you could set up the dynamic, where everyone already has the foundation of a trusting relationship to draw upon?  What if kindness, caring, and building the relationship was what mattered?

Tragedy or not, let’s get to know each other better. Let’s spend meaningful time with our clients and within our circles of influence. I always say “we need to put the “relationship” back in “CRM”. Maybe it’s time we change up that first “R” in “ROI” too.

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