In accordance with President’s Day, we are pleased to share an interview with Convoy of Hope President Hal Donaldson on our mission, the importance of humility, and what Convoy needs to do to serve millions of others in the future.
When we say, “We are delivering hope,” what does that actually look like? What does that mean?
When I think of hope, I think of the belief that things can be better than they are. It’s the feeling that it’s worth living another 10 minutes, another 10 days, because things can get better.
Hope is the essence of life, but it’s also a currency God intended to be spent. It’s not something to hoard. And the currency of hope can be food. It can be a handshake. A smile. It can be holding someone who’s lost a loved one. The more you give away, the more hope you’re going to have.
You’ve spoken about the importance of humility at Convoy of Hope. When you envision a humble organization, what does that look like?
It’s very easy for a business or an organization to oversell their successes and minimize their weaknesses. In the quest to highlight success and engage more people, it doesn’t take much to move from a place of humility to a place of arrogance. So, at Convoy of Hope, we work very hard at being authentic.
Humility is also about being grateful. Being thankful to our partners and to God for what has been entrusted to us and not to take that for granted. Gratitude breeds humility. You realize everything doesn’t depend on you. Much of what happens depends on the goodness and the faith of others.
I also believe that everyone in leadership, regardless of what level, has to model humility for the people that work with them. Sometimes, I think we mistake arrogance and pride for strength. At Convoy of Hope, we recognize that true strength displays a level of humility and meekness.
What scares you the most?
My greatest fear is that we would not be found trustworthy for any reason. I think it’s one of the reasons we work so hard at doing things with integrity and transparency. We know the more we’re trusted, the more people we’re going to be able to help. And, at the end of the day, that’s why we’re here.
Is there any advice you wish you had received earlier in life?
Yes — the value of persevering. When I was younger, I expected success or growth to happen overnight. I wish I had been told that this was going to be a life-long journey. And it wasn’t going to be a series of big decisions. It was going to be countless small decisions, daily decisions, that would ultimately lead to greater effectiveness and efficiency.
What separates Convoy of Hope from other organizations? What makes us different?
I can’t tell you what other organizations do. I don’t keep score on them. They’re not competitors. But we do keep score of ourselves, and our partners hold us accountable to make sure we are doing what we say we’re going to do. That’s why we strive to operate with a high level of integrity and transparency. For example, we don’t sell donor information. We don’t exaggerate our successes. Instead we speak about our accomplishments in an honest way. And we hand-deliver goods. We don’t just “dump and leave” when it comes to providing aid in a community.
If you could meet every single person we serve — every mom, every child, every family at a Community Event — and say something to each of them, what would that be?
Two words: “You matter.” Regardless of their socioeconomic condition or their status in the world, “You matter.” As long as we keep that as our motto, there’s no limit to what can be accomplished in the U.S. and around the world.