Three Reasons To Still Give Even During Difficult Times

Giving is an act that becomes much easier during times of good fortune and many blessings. On auspicious days, you would probably be all too willing to share your time and resources. Big paychecks and fat wallets give us the confidence to be as generous as we can be. But what happens during times of crisis and loss? Can you still be as generous to others if you need help as well? You may find it challenging to be altruistic in times of need because you will be concerned about your own welfare. However, it pays to remember that generosity is a virtue worthy to be practiced at all times. The reminders listed below will help keep your altruistic spirit alive even during trying times.

Giving gives you strength.

Staying calm and strong in times of crisis can feel like a tall order. Bad days eat up your self-esteem and kill your enthusiasm to go on. However, setting aside time to find ways on how to help others can greatly help you combat these negative emotions. Knowing that your small actions can have a positive impact on others can lift your mood. Likewise, you can easily gain strength to overcome any crisis and avoid depression.

Giving will make you more grateful.

Philanthropy is often associated with wealthy and successful individuals because they are in a better position to give more. However, giving is never limited to money and other material things. In times of crisis, you may be surprised that there are still so many things you can share that do not involve shelling out huge amounts of money. You can always lend a helping hand to groups and charities by sharing your skills and expertise. In your home, you may also find many items to donate. To see that you are still capable of giving even during bleak times can make you appreciate what you have more.

Giving will have a greater impact.

Some people are pessimistic about philanthropy because they worry that their efforts will not make any difference or their help will not reach intended recipients. You can lessen this worry when you give in times of crisis because there is a greater chance that you will see the immediate impact of your good deeds. Your willingness to still extend assistance even if you are also struggling also serves as a good example. You can inspire and make a positive impact on others too.

Philanthropy may be the last thing on your mind during times of uncertainty. But as they say, the true measure of a man’s character is tested on tough times. So do your best to answer calls for help from others even in difficult days. Genuine altruism never fails to give a great sense of purpose and fulfillment but these rewards may come in a multitude if you practice it during trying times. 

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Understanding Philanthropy Through Some Of The Most Generous Philanthropists In America

Those who give generously receive more, but those who are stingy
with what is appropriate will grow needy. – Proverbs 11:24

What would you do if you suddenly gained an insurmountable amount of wealth? To start an extravagant lifestyle is probably one of the first things to come to mind. You may even get overwhelmed thinking about all the things you can buy and all the places you can visit. However, a look inside the lives of the richest and most successful people in America may prompt you to give a different answer. 

The likes of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg are known to lead frugal lifestyles. Moreover, they have also pledged to dedicate a huge portion of their wealth to charity. Some people may find their actions confusing and unbelievable. Yet, on second thought, their generous actions teach us the importance of giving back. To make an effort for philanthropy despite everything they achieved also shows that earning money should not be the lone and ultimate goal of any endeavor. Philanthropy may be a vague concept for some but looking at the quotes uttered by some of the most generous givers in America can help us get a clear notion of it:

Philanthropy gives us purpose.

The Scottish American who is known for the expansion of the American steel industry during the 1900s left a beautiful quote about philanthropy. He said, “No man can become rich without himself enriching others,The man who dies rich dies disgraced.” This teaches us that real wealth is the reward that comes from doing something good for others. To know that your generous deeds are helping others also give purpose in life. 

Philanthropy is a social responsibility.

Warren Buffett once said, “If you’re in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.“ This quote from the business magnate stresses the concept that much is expected of those who are given more. The billionaire also teaches us how to responsibly use wealth – which is to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Philanthropy requires effort and commitment.

According to  Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, “Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.” This quote teaches us that philanthropy is a long-term commitment. You cannot simply give money and forget about it. Instead, you invest time and effort into it because you want to get to the root of the problem and offer concrete solutions. 

Philanthropy should be used to make a difference. 

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has this to say about philanthropy,  “Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here.” The quote implies that philanthropy is essential to make our world a better place. It also says that engaging in altruism is a gift to the future generation. 

Philanthropy is never exclusive for the wealthy and privileged.  Yet the examples shown by some of the most generous philanthropists in America prove that you can only understand the true value of money by sharing it with others. 

Brad and Julie DuncanUnderstanding Philanthropy Through Some Of The Most Generous Philanthropists In America
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Climate Philanthropy: Four Simple Ways To Help Save Mother Earth

We tend to see philanthropists as people who want to make this world a better place through their actions and decisions. No matter how small, their efforts can help solve some of the most pressing issues in society. Nowadays, climate change is one of the biggest problems that humanity is facing. As we continue to feel and observe the frightening effects of global warming in various parts of the world, the need for a new kind of altruism is emerging – climate philanthropy. Governments and institutions around the world are organizing programs and allocating funds to help address the problem of climate change. However, to successfully combat the threat of climate change, everyone must do their share.

The good news is that doing something good for the environment is not that difficult. It does not necessarily mean donating huge amounts or taking big steps. On the contrary, your fight against climate change may even be more effective by incorporating earth-friendly habits in your lifestyle and routines. The following are simple ways you can do to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle and help save our planet:

Conserve energy. 

Energy usage is one of the major reasons why the earth’s temperature is rising up. Thus, using energy wisely can greatly help keep our planet habitable. You can do this by choosing energy-efficient appliances in your homes. It is also advisable to switch to compact fluorescent (CFLs) and LED light bulbs because they consume less energy. Simply remembering to turn off lights and other electrical items when not in use can also go a long way to protecting the Earth.

Choose to be a minimalist. 

Another great option to be an earth warrior is by choosing minimalism. This kind of lifestyle embraces simple living by concentrating on basic needs instead of splurging. By deciding to consume less, you help address another environmental problem brought about by the massive amount of waste people produce every day. You can help in waste management too by reusing and recycling as much as possible.

Get healthier.

Meat consumption is another culprit for climate change as methane emissions from livestock animals when digesting food cause damage to the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, you can help preserve the ozone layer by eating less meat. You can choose to increase vegetable intake or try meat substitutes such as tofu and mushroom. Aside from changing your diet, you can also commit to doing more exercise. One way to do this is by choosing to walk to nearby places instead of using your car. You will save energy and achieve your fitness goals at the same time. This shows that being earth-friendly is beneficial to the environment and to yourself.

Get involved. 

Many groups aiming to help sustain our healthy environment are being formed as more people become aware of the realities of climate change. Events with the goal of raising funds for environment-friendly projects are also being organized. Instead of ignoring, show your support to these undertakings. Try to reach out or participate in groups that want to help keep the Earth a safe and beautiful place.

Climate change is a big problem that cannot be ignored. To solve this global predicament, everyone must do their part in caring for the environment. Fortunately, small changes in your lifestyle can already make a huge positive impact.

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Four Ways to Make Philanthropy a Way of Life

Philanthropy is undeniably a commendable act. To see people take time to share blessings reminds us that we are all intrinsically good. However, not everyone understands the true meaning of altruism. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it is a one-time thing. Some think that engaging in philanthropy only happens when you allot a certain amount to fund a cause, gather a number of items to donate, or participate in a community program. But genuinely practicing philanthropy means making it a part of your life. To be truly philanthropic in everything you do, here are some things you should start doing:

Live frugally.

People have this impression that philanthropists are supposed to be wealthy. However, a person who is genuinely generous can find ways to give even without much money. They are able to help others by choosing to live within their means. To live frugally does not mean depriving yourself of the good things in life. Rather, it means not being wasteful and giving importance to the more essential things in life. By not being too materialistic, people who live frugally rarely run out of things they need and always have something to give. 

Choose kindness.

We all know the importance of being kind. Still, there are days when it is simply too difficult to be considerate and patient. But a commitment to choose kindness regardless of the situation is a must if  you wish to practice philanthropy in your life. It can be as simple as being extra patient to a new co-worker who still has to learn the ropes or choosing to smile to a tired cashier in the grocery despite the long lines. It also means being more tolerant of others and not being judgmental. Your simple gesture of kindness can go a long way.

Be involved.

Philanthropic people are not living in their own bubbles. Rather, they tend to be active participants in the community or any group they belong to. They keep themselves updated and involved in whatever is happening around because they are always seeking out ways to be of service to others. They are always the first to volunteer, sign-up, or show support for any cause that needs a helping hand.

Be genuine. 

Philanthropy should be done because you genuinely want to. It is not something that should be forced or done just to look righteous in the eyes of others. To do this, it is necessary to be true to yourself in everything you do. Instead of being pretentious, you are honest in your words and actions. Being genuine allows you to do everything from the heart. People can usually tell if someone is just faking things so being genuine will also make others appreciate you more.

People who are truly philanthropic always add value to everyone they meet or every situation they are a part of. Thus, if you really want to be philanthropic, always be on the lookout for opportunities to help or do more. At the end of the day, your good deeds will benefit you more than anyone else.

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Three Points Proving That Philanthropy Is The Essence Of Christmas

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…
yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother

and offer him your hand. – Mother Teresa.

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most popular and celebrated holidays in the world. So many people look forward to this occasion because of the pleasant things it represents. This is the time of the year for posh parties, happy reunions, and gift-giving. Amidst the celebrations, it is easy to forget that Christmas is also the best time to spread love and goodness. In fact, your Christmas celebrations may even be happier and more meaningful if you focus on sharing your blessings with others. When you come to think of it, philanthropy is indeed the true essence of Christmas. The following are reasons that prove this point:

It is a perfect example of humility.

Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ who was born in a manger during the coldest and longest night of that year. His whole life is a story of humility. The simple life he led teaches that we do not need an abundance of material things to make a difference. Thus, instead of focusing on things you want to have, you can try shifting your focus on things you can share. It will make you realize your blessings and at the same time make a positive impact on the lives of others.

It highlights the importance of kindness.

According to the tale, there were no more inns for Joseph and Mary. Fortunately, someone allowed the couple to stay in a stable. It was not the most comfortable place, however, it provided a safe place for Mary to give birth. Recalling the story of Christmas should remind us of all the power of a single act of kindness. It doesn’t always have to be a grand action, sometimes even the smallest gesture to show kindness is more than enough.

It is an example of unconditional love.

Christians believe that Jesus is sent by Father God to redeem the world from sins. The birth of Christ is one of the strongest messages of God’s unconditional love for humanity. Of all the things to give, God chose the most precious one which is his son. Since no other gift can be greater than this, Christmas should remind us to be less concerned about the things we want to receive but of the amazing gift which God has already given us. Christmas should also teach us to consistently show mercy and compassion to others because God never fails to show the same to us.

Christmas is one of the most awaited times of the year. Every year, we think of ways to celebrate it in the most joyous way. Make it more special this year by taking the time to be a blessing to others.

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Three Ideas To Celebrate Thanksgiving With Philanthropy

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
Is the true measure of our thanksgiving – W.T. Purkiser

Out of the numerous special events in a year, one occasion proves to be an important one for Americans – the Thanksgiving! Many look forward to the fourth Thursday of November because this federal holiday is filled with exciting events such as colorful parades, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Moreover, it also opens an opportunity to bond with family. While the traditional way of celebrating Thanksgiving is always a great option, it is likewise a great idea to try new ways of commemorating this annual holiday.Since the day is about expressing gratitude for the bountiful blessings we received throughout the year, you may want to make Thanksgiving more meaningful by making an effort to give back to others. Thanksgiving and philanthropy are two different yet closely related concepts so there are surely plenty of ways to combine the two. The following are some of them:

Open your house to others.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy occasion but people who are living alone or are struggling financially may think otherwise. Help others have a joyful celebration as well by opening your house up to them. Who knows, your company and hospitality may lift the spirit of someone who may be feeling down? Your guests on the other hand will take your family dinner to the next level as their stories may impart valuable lessons. They may even become lifelong friends of your family.

Do some volunteer work.

Your Thanksgiving schedule may be full with sumptuous dinners to attend to or shopping deals to check out. But with your time-management skills, you can definitely squeeze in some time for some charity work. You (or better yet, get the whole family involved) can a few hours or a whole day helping out in a hospital or doing some work at an animal shelter. You can also allot some time doing community service. You are free to choose where to spend your time as long as you do something to help move a cause forward. 

Make donations. 

To realize that you have a lot to share is surely something to be thankful for. Especially because not everyone has this privilege. So spend time to sort out your things and you may discover way too many items you don’t really need but others may still find useful. If you have money to spare, you can also choose an organization to make some donations. It may also be a nice idea is to make it a family project to save money to give for donations at the start of the year until Thanksgiving day.

In many ways, Thanksgiving is a time to indulge. We enjoy sumptuous dishes, drink exquisite wines, and sometimes shop our hearts out. However, while we fill our tummy with good food and satisfy our shopping needs, let us not forget to take time to give back as well. These activities can make your Thanksgiving more rewarding.

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Vital Factors to Consider When Choosing A Charity To Support

Your decision to venture into philanthropy will likely be followed by a series of questions. You may start to ponder why you want to support altruism projects. It will not be surprising either if you start wondering about how to be an effective philanthropist. Another important question you want to answer is: how to choose which organization or cause to support? There are so many altruistic groups out there but sadly, not everyone is genuinely doing a noble deed. Some are bogus charities while some genuine ones lack dedication and commitment to truly make a difference. You surely do not want to see your initiatives to help go to waste so there is nothing wrong in being meticulous in deciding the charity to support. To help you sort out the best organizations from the bad ones, the following are factors you may want to consider:

Good charities are not stingy with information.

It is but natural that you want to gather as much information as you can about a group before you can assess if it will be worth the effort. Ideally, there should be many ways to read up about the background of the group you are eyeing to be affiliated to. Nowadays, you can expect them to have a social media page, an official website, or a printed brochure where their mission, goals, and projects are conveyed in detail. In case the said sources are not available, a legitimate charitable organization should at least have a contact number that you can call for inquiries. Of course, you can expect its staff to have adequate knowledge about their group. However, it is likely time to move on to your next option if a charity seem to be stingy in providing information or cannot explain their purpose clearly.

Good charities provide updates about their achievements.

Along with having a solid mission and vision, a good charity also updates their supporters about the outcomes of their projects. You will be more confident that you are working with a legitimate and reputable group if transparency is obviously not a problem. Thus, if a group conducted a fundraising event, it is but fitting to report the total number of funds collected and a breakdown of how it was utilized. This is essential to further inspire people to give.

They reflect your own values and preferences.

To further make your charitable works rewarding, you want to choose a group that supports a cause that holds a special meaning to you. It can also be a cause that coincides with your passion and interests. For example, pet lovers will be eager to work with an organization pushing to end animal cruelty. Likewise, you will be eager to work with a charity supporting medical treatments if you are close to someone battling a fatal disease,  Of course, charities with causes you are unfamiliar with can still be a good option, but you may need added motivation to volunteer your time or resources in it. On the other hand, by considering your own values and interests, philanthropy will cease to feel like work or obligatory because you love what you are doing.

People who are purposely doing philanthropy understand that it comes with a responsibility. It is not a single act where you simply give money or donate items to support a cause. Instead, you continue to support a cause in an aim to see the positive changes that your actions bring. Your goal is possible if you start your philanthropic journey by wisely picking the best charity. 

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Teen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Poolside lounging, backyard barbecues, beach vacations – three summertime staples that spark joy in almost all of our hearts. But the summer season wasn’t made just for rest and relaxation; the midyear sunshine is also perfect for philanthropy. Though many working adults don’t have the luxury of enjoying the same extended break their school-aged children have, luckily, philanthropy is an equal opportunity activity. When it comes to volunteering, the summer offers endless possibility and plenty of free time to pursue. Here are three teen-friendly volunteer projects for the summer.

1. Building
For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty, why not dive into a building project? Charities like Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing build homes for people in need, while organizations like Bikes for Goodness Sake build bikes for underprivileged children. If your teenager’s heart lies in education, plenty of nonprofits like BuildOn Global dedicate their volunteer hours to constructing schools for underserved communities.

If building houses and schools requires too much physical exertion, think outside-of-the-box and create your own nonprofit or charity. The business can be as small and short-term as a weekend lemonade stand, or as complex and long-term as an online boutique of handmade crafts. Once the profits start rolling in, take the proceeds and donate them to a worthy cause.

2. Cleanup
Many of the spaces we occupy and enjoy require tedious, behind-the-scenes work to keep clean. However, the bright sunshine of summer provides the perfect motivation to lend a helping hand. Commit to sprucing up the neighborhood. Gather a group of friends and create a gameplan to clean up one (or a few) of the following spaces:

  • The Beach
  • A Heavily Littered Street
  • An Elder’s House or Yard
  • A Local Park
  • Your Neighborhood Common Areas

3. Social
Get social! For all the extroverts and social butterflies, your time and attention can prove to be a priceless gift. Help your fellow man by participating in a bit of good ol’ fashioned, face-to-face interaction. Consider visiting a rest home, hospital or hospice center and sharing your company. Enroll as a Big Brother or Sister (if you are over the age of eighteen) or offer your literary expertise to a summer reading program at your nearest library, bookstore or daycare.

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” — Tom Brokaw

Although the free time that accompanies summer break is traditionally consumed by self-serving pursuits, what better time to do more than is required? There are millions of causes, both locally and globally, waiting for the attention and action of a future philanthropist. You are never too young to make a difference. The leaders of tomorrow start by creating change today. So, this summer, encourage the teens in your life to get out of the house, take advantage of the sunshine and make a real-world impact through volunteerism.   

Brad and Julie DuncanTeen-Friendly Volunteer Projects for the Summer
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Philanthropy: How to Give a Lot With a Little

The word philanthropy can be an intimidating term for those who feel they don’t have much to offer. But at its purest, philanthropy boils down to “goodwill to fellow members of the human race” (Merriam Webster). We all have the desire to better the world we live in and all it takes is a little effort. Here are three ways to give a lot with a little.

A Little Money

Billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have the type of financial security that allows them to give with wild abandon. We can sometimes feel that our charitable contributions pale in comparison, consequently lowering their impact. But remember, despite the size or amount, all gifts are meaningful when they come from the heart. Even if you don’t have much to spare, something is always better than nothing at all. Here are a few ways to make your dollars count.

Make a Small, One Time Donation

  • Many people choose to donate when and what they can, even if that’s a small amount, one time. Be proud of your desire to give and initiative to act on it. Every gift makes a difference, and any recipient would be honored to accept your act of sacrifice and kindness.

Save Up to Give

  • If your budget is too tight to gift the ideal amount, pick a reoccuring minimal expense you can live without (i.e. coffee, eating out, Netflix) and give it up for a short period of time. Take the money you save and donate it to a cause of your choice.
  • Set aside a few dollars each month, then give the lump sum away for the holidays

A Little Thought

A little thought goes a long way. While financial offerings are often the only type of gift commonly associated with philanthropy, meaningful giving comes in all forms. To start, think of sentimental things people have done for you that made a lasting impression in your life. Make a list of your favorites, then isolate the acts of kindness you deem worthy of replicating.  Below is a list of (non-monetary) gestures to brighten someone’s day.

Make Something

  • Take inventory of your pantry and use ingredients you already have to make a delicious meal or dessert for someone in need
  • Upcycle old articles of clothing to make a fresh, one-of-a-kind outfit to donate to a local charity

Say Something

  • Know of a friend who needs a bit of encouragement? Speak up! A kind word at the right moment can be the ideal gift for someone who is down on their luck
  • If face-to-face interactions make you nervous, share your thoughts in writing. An email, text or handwritten note full of positive sentiments is sure to be received with warm gratitude   

A Little Time

Your time is finite, making it the most precious commodity you own. Unlike money and thought, you cannot earn or create time. Therefore, devoting a few hours to another person’s needs is one of the most selfless donations you can give. Try:

Spending Time with a Stranger

  • You’re sure to find your niche in a place such as a hospice center, the NICU of a hospital, an animal shelter or a food bank.  The investment of your time is an excellent way to show you care, while taking a hands-on approach to transforming lives.

Charles Dickens said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Every effort to improve the happiness, well-being or safety of another is a grand gesture that should be undertaken with pride. You can be the change you wish to see, even if you do so little by little. Keep up the good work.

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Everyday Philanthropy

We’ve all heard of the philanthropic undertakings of the millionaires and billionaires around the world and hoped to one day be able to do the same. But what if you could, even without needing a six-figure salary to get started? You can. Philanthropy is the act of sharing something, big or small, with someone in need. You have talents, skills and a unique community around you that qualify you to become the perfect full-fledged philanthropist. Here are five ways to practice everyday philanthropy.

Habitual Kindness
Foster a habit of being kind all day, every day. Kindness goes beyond simply being polite, it requires you to take the extra step to be generous and considerate as well. The difference is thinking deeper than superficial niceties by transitioning pleasant words into actionable care. Generosity inspires us to give more than is required. Consideration motivates us to be selfless in our thinking by employing empathy and thoughtfulness.

Use Your Free Time for Good
When a rare free moment presents itself, make use of it! You may only have an hour or even as little as a few minutes, but whatever time you do have can be put to good use. Consider these examples. If you are on the road and pass a fellow driver with a blown tire, pull over and ask how you can help. If you’re driving and have a very limited amount of free time, think smaller and use those spare moments to give a fellow driver time to safely merge in front of you. The goal is to look for ways to help throughout the day because no deed is too small.

Small Frequent Donations
You may not have tons of extra money lying around for the sole purpose of philanthropy and that’s ok. Small donations have helped many people in need. If you are able, vow to allocate a small amount to be set aside on a regular basis for donations. You can then take that money and distribute it how you see fit. Whether you choose to pay for a stranger’s meal, buy lemonade from a young entrepreneur’s stand or donate to a GoFundMe campaign, your dollars can make a difference.

Be a Good Neighbor, Friend, Coworker and Family Member
You don’t have to limit your philanthropic work to major charities or foundations, you can think local and improve the lives of the people in your circle. Many people around you could use a helping hand, but rarely ask out of fear of burdening others. Make it known that you are willing to fill in the gap. Let your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers know that you are looking for ways to help around the community and would love to contribute your time, skills or company. You’ll be surprised by just how many of the people around you are struggling in ways that you never knew.

Be Aware
The last way to expand your philanthropy is to be persistently observant. The more aware you are, the more you’ll start to see the vast number of philanthropic needs that surround you every day. Be an active listener and you’ll start to hear unresolved problems that you may be able to help with. Open your heart to unexpected opportunities that will allow you to contribute to the lives of others. Once you tune in, as a willing ally, your next philanthropic venture will find you.

Kindness is contagious. Why not be the one who starts the chain? It doesn’t take much to make a large impact in someone else’s life. Everyday philanthropist make the world a better place by taking the initiative to create a difference.

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