How to be a Good Philanthropist

How to be a Good Philanthropist

Philanthropy is any act that is performed for the betterment of humanity. Philanthropy is derived from “Philos” which means loving and “Anthropos” meaning humankind.

Acts of philanthropy are not done with the motive of generating a profit. Philanthropic giving is on a steady rise as donors across various demographics show an increased interest in various issues such as environmental, medical research, etc.

Philanthropy is often confused with charity. However, they are different. While acts of philanthropy are directed towards eliminating social issues, charitable acts focus on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems.

How can Philanthropy change the world?

Philanthropy is an unselfish act of “giving” to the world to help make it a better place for all types of people. Philanthropists have the opportunity to impact society by donating resources. Philanthropy catalyzes long-term changes by addressing the root cause of various social issues affecting society.

Philanthropists can make a difference to the world by:

  • Improving and strengthening communities
  • Support the Arts
  • Supporting Medical Research
  • Enhancing the quality and reach of Education by building schools
  • Provide relief for victims of wars and natural disasters. etc.

The current digital environment has helped philanthropy thrive. It has not only increased the awareness level for various causes but also enabled philanthropists to contribute beyond geographical limits.

Some examples of major success stories of philanthropy are:

In the 1940s poverty reduction overseas was not considered a priority by many. It was supported by philanthropic donations rather than by a government initiative. It was the Rockefeller Foundation that funded agricultural scientists to breed better crops for the developing world. This helped increase their food production.

Similarly, in the 1950s, the first effective birth control pill was created thanks to philanthropic donations. The "pill" was the idea of activist Margret Sanger. The Gregory Pincus research team needed funds to the tune of $40,000 to proceed. This was furnished by a check from biologist and women’s rights activist, Katherine Cormick.

How to be a Good Philanthropist

One of the hardest parts of becoming a successful philanthropist is attempting to get better and better over time. Once you begin to donate to causes and see the change it can sometimes be easy to get comfortable and become less ambitious, but it is imperative that you push past these feelings. Being a good philanthropist means staying committed and driven to doing as much as you can to provide for the people that need it the most, and this can feel nearly impossible at times. Luckily, there are some very basic steps you can take to make sure you stay on route to becoming the best philanthropist you can be.

Pick What You’re Passionate About

To be truly good at something, you have to truly care about what you are doing, and this logic is extremely accurate for philanthropy. Selecting causes that are close to your heart or that you really want to see change in will immediately make you push yourself harder, ask more from the people and resources around you, spend more time, and ultimately give more, because you are actually passionate about producing progress. The best part of this step is that the more support you generate for these causes, the more your passion and drive will grow for the lives and groups you are affecting.

Explore Through Volunteering

Getting to know your causes on a personal level is very important in order to learn the most effective and realistic ways you can contribute to them. Volunteering is one of the best ways to do this because you can experience every level of craft hands-on. Try to volunteer at as many events as you can in an array of different positions and services, even if some involve you going out of your comfort zone. This way you can discover what kinds of events create the most progress, what types of work you enjoy and are best suited for, what issues in your cause need to be addressed, and what it will take to see your vision come to life, all while supporting other philanthropists and their passions for change as well. 

Actually Donate

Being a good philanthropist requires you to be both generous and thoughtful with your funds, as you need to give as much money as you can to the areas and causes you feel need it most. This step may sound easy, but it can be one of the trickiest concepts to grasp for people, as they are either scared of giving money away to groups they don’t fully trust or donate without ensuring their funds are going to make the most impact possible. Make sure you research and get familiar with the groups you choose to donate to, and remember to give with your heart as your money is going to enrich the causes you care so deeply about.

Become a Leader

An important transition on your journey to becoming a good philanthropist is going from being a donor to being a leader, and this can be one of the hardest but most gratifying steps of all. Becoming a leader usually involves being recognized for your work as a philanthropist, searching for leadership positions, and having both patience and ambition. Once you reach a stage where you feel comfortable taking on the responsibilities of leading other philanthropists, seek out leadership roles like director positions and committee member spots that are either vacant or maybe don’t even exist but you feel you could help contribute in. Taking on the duties of becoming a leader can be an intimidating and challenging task, but it all becomes worth it when you can better lead and inspire the change you want to see. 

These are only a few suggestions on a long, long list of what you can do to grow as a philanthropist. Just remember to keep pushing yourself as there are always lessons to learn, and people in need... 


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