— by Deborah Niski

“Give hope to a family in need this Christmas.”
“Give the gift of hope.”
“Bring hope to those who need it most”

We see a lot of headlines and calls to action featuring “hope”. The idea is upbeat and simple, but does “giving hope” really mean anything?

At Marlin we often use the phrase: “Hope is not a strategy”, meaning hope is not an answer, it’s not a benefit, it’s not an end result.

Which is true.

However, many charities state that they “offer hope” or that “having hope is the most important thing” for their beneficiaries.

Which is also true.

If you’re living poverty and believe that you’ll be poor forever, that is depressing, debilitating and bleak. Likewise, if you’re diagnosed with cancer and feel that there’s no chance of a breakthrough treatment that could cure you or prolong your life. Living in hope gives people motivation and optimism to hang in there and move forward. Yet still, hope is not an outcome. It’s a process.

Action engenders hope

If a woman sees others gaining the skills they need to farm sustainably, that gives her hope that she can learn too, and their community can create a path out of poverty. If a man sees medical researchers making incredible breakthroughs, it gives him hope that there may soon be a new treatment for his type of cancer.

So, at Marlin we acknowledge that hope is incredibly important, but it’s not something you can promise, it’s not something you can give, it’s something that’s inspired.

And, that’s why you won’t find it in our headlines or calls to action.