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.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Points Proving That Philanthropy Is The Essence Of Christmas
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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. 

Brad and Julie DuncanVital Factors to Consider When Choosing A Charity To Support
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Can Your Philanthropic Ways Inspire Others To Do The Same?

Philanthropy is undoubtedly a noble act. No matter how small it is, your efforts to extend generosity to others can go a long way. So just imagine the positive impact it can create if everyone took a step towards philanthropy. A single person cannot possibly do everything all the time so charitable work is better and easier with collaborative effort.

In a way, this means that the ultimate goal of a philanthropist is to persuade others to be generous with their time and resources. However, spreading the benefits of altruism is not that easy. People can come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid supporting a cause or sharing what they can give. So what can you do to be an ambassador of kindness and altruism in your own little way? The following suggestions can help.

Tell stories.  

If you want to reach out to people, do not make your journey towards philanthropy a secret. You can start by sharing your experiences with others. Storytelling is an effective way to communicate ideas and engage your audience. By passionately explaining why altruism is a worthy activity, you have a great chance to convince others to follow your in steps. Aside from sharing your personal experiences, you can also share stories of the people you encountered while doing charity work. This is an easy way to clearly show others why they need to help and how their initiative can make a difference.

Send out invitations.

Sometimes people want to serve as volunteers or help out on a campaign but fail to do it because they simply do not know how. They may also be too shy or scared to approach anyone related to a cause they want to support. You can make this easier for them by personally inviting them and offering to accompany them to the place where you do charitable work. If your charity work involves making donations, you can teach them various ways on how they can share their monetary help. You may be surprised to know that some people only need a small nudge before they willingly start doing something for a good cause.

Offer choices.

Your invitations will be more effective if you point out specific ways about how someone can offer help. Aside from financial assistance, organizations heavily rely on volunteers to run and maintain their operations. They often need all sorts of assistance. For example,  an institution may need a teacher, nurse, artist or musician. Instead of simply stating that a particular group needs volunteers, directly state the skills or professions that are needed. Philanthropy becomes more appealing if you present it as a way to hone someone’s talents and abilities.

Give advice.

People may shun philanthropy because they associate it with difficulties. This is where excuses can come in. They may say they have no time for it or express worry that they may not enjoy it. You can ease anxiety over altruism by sharing tips and advice. One way to do this is by relaying your own struggles about philanthropy and how you overcame it. Try to be a living testimony that philanthropy should not be hard and someone may just decide to give it a shot.

Convincing others to try philanthropy may be far from easy but it is still a challenge worth taking. If your good deeds lead to inspiring others to do the same, you end up helping more people. Likewise, you are giving others a chance to experience the joy and satisfaction that come from doing philanthropic activities.

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Ready To Pursue Altruism? Four Things To Ponder On

Altruism sounds noble and heroic, a highly commendable act because of the many advantages it brings. By devoting time and energy to worthy causes, you contribute to the betterment of society and improve your overall well-being. The myriad of benefits that you can gain from philanthropic endeavors makes it easy to think that nothing can go wrong.

However there is a thin line between good and bad deeds. As Russian novelist, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put it, “The battle-line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” Philanthropy is meant to create a significant impact on the lives of others, but it will be a careless act if you do it without enough knowledge about a cause or unclear intentions about a charity. Thinking about the following factors listed below can help you prepare for your altruistic endeavors.

Consider your values along with your interests.

The first thing you have to do is decide which non-profit organization  you would you like to support. You can arrive at a good decision by taking into consideration your values and interests. If you are interested in the healthcare profession and want to help people cope with their illnesses, it may be a good idea to join a medical mission. Or if you love children and have a knack for teaching, you can be a volunteer tutor in an orphanage or children’s center. On the other hand, nature lovers can support environmental projects. Aligning your altruistic deeds with your values and interests will ignite your passion for a certain cause. Philanthropy will then cease to feel like work and becomes a very rewarding experience.

Check your intentions.

The reasons for doing philanthropy vary per individual. Some may do charitable work because they want to enhance a skill or simply to pass time. Sadly, there are also people who donate to charities or serve as volunteers because of vanity and recognition. Your reason for going into philanthropy should be clear right from the start. If you clearly define the results that you want to achieve, you gain inspiration to work towards the goals that you set. It will also help you measure the success of your efforts.

The organization and the cause it supports will benefit whatever reason a philanthropist may have for helping. However, if you truly want to gain the benefits of philanthropy, you need to do it to genuinely help others. A number of research studies prove the many benefits of doing philanthropy for others. One study published in Journal of Health Psychology proves the correlation between doing volunteer work and low mortality among old people.

Assess your knowledge, skills and resources.

Upon deciding which cause to support, start to think of the best ways you can help by assessing your skills and resources. If you have money to spare, the amount of financial support you can give will be much appreciated and go a long way. However, philanthropy is not limited to monetary means, so you should also assess how you can contribute with your skills and talents.

Along with this, you should also check your knowledge about the cause. You risk the chance of doing more harm than good if you are ignorant about the cause you are supporting. To gain enthusiasm about a project, you need to be aware of its history and missions. You can set some time to attend the orientation or training that an organization sometimes offer to new volunteers.

Gauge your willingness to commit.

Once you sign up to lend a hand to a group or project, be prepared to commit to the tasks given to you until the end. Your participation will hardly make a difference if you only exert effort at the start. Take a moment to check your schedule and see if other obligations will prevent you from committing to an organization wholeheartedly. You should also be aware of the challenges that come with the tasks so you can ensure you can complete them.

Philanthropy reminds us that we are here in this world to touch lives. That no matter how small, weak or insignificant you think you are, there is always something you can do to help. However, you do not want to be trapped in the middle of doing it for others or doing it for your own selfish interest. So, spend time on self-reflecting to truly feel the essence of your philanthropic efforts.

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These 3 Skills Will Make You a Better Philanthropist

Philanthropy: Active, ongoing effort in pursuit of improving human welfare. “Never respect people merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” (Gamaliel Bailey) We all desire to find purpose through giving. When confronted with a situation where sympathy and words of comfort aren’t enough, the logical next step is to take action. In this case: financial action. As with all things, there are best practices that boost the impact of your giving, keep reading for 3 skills of highly effective philanthropist.

The best philanthropists are:

1: Research-Oriented

Writing a check for the first cause that knocks at your door is tempting. It’s also unwise. Wherever your money goes, so goes your association. Providing funding essentially aligns your name, your brand, and your morals with that cause. Consequently, caution is crucial. Anything worth supporting is worth researching. Look into the history of the establishment, dissect its mission statement, study the staff. Ask questions. Take your time. Check more than one source. Once you do your due diligence if you still feel motivated to provide assistance, go forth with confidence. You’ve done your homework and can rest assured that you made the best decision for both parties. But don’t become lax. If this is a long-term partnership, make sure to schedule occasional check-ins to confirm that your values still line up with their current mission. Your research should also include asking the company whether your contributions are serving the purpose you intended them to, or whether changes need to be made. Stay engaged.

Being research-oriented also means actively seeking causes that pull on your heartstrings, instead of waiting for them to find you. Make a list of your passions and concerns, then look up charities and businesses that could use your help. Taking these steps will provide peace of mind that you’ve crossed your t’s, dotted your I’s, and are purposefully matched with the people or initiatives that you feel most inspired by.

2: Financially Responsible

Committing to donate a financial gift is a noble undertaking. However, we rarely contemplate whether those donations can lead to financial hardship for the giver. If you are considering making a philanthropic contribution, ask yourself these 2 questions: 1. Is your gift going to negatively impact your financial stability? 2. Do you have the means to commit to longevity? If not, step back and reevaluate your plan. It’s okay to wait until your funds are in order and donate a non-monetary gift (i.e. your time) in the meantime. Remember, once you step-up and decide to fill someone’s financial need, he/she may need your help again in the future. If you aren’t in a space where your budget allows you to help a second time, are you prepared to decline if asked? If not, avoid putting yourself in a position where you’re willing to incur debt or financial strain simply because you didn’t use enough discretion before initially volunteering aid.

Philanthropy should be a positive experience. It should bring you joy and satisfaction, not worry and monetary consequence. So, plan ahead and be smart about how you spend. There are many ways to better the community that involve no cost at all. There’s no shame in temporarily prioritizing your own financial stability in order to be a permanent philanthropist in the long run.

3: Reflective

The most charitable among us have mastered self-reflection. Here are some questions you should ask yourself about your philanthropic ventures.

  • Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much?
  • How is my charitable giving enhancing my life? How about the lives of others?
  • What goals can I set for my giving?
  • Have I handled all the paperwork and legal aspects of my charity?
  • What haven’t I done yet? Which causes have I missed?
  • Have I encountered any downsides to helping others? If so, how can I change my approach in the future to avoid those same experiences?

Regularly analyzing your thoughts, reflecting on lessons learned, and considering next steps will help ensure the highest level of effectiveness and satisfaction in your giving.

There are many nonprofit organizations, sponsorships, and fundraising campaigns that are in desperate need of empathy and action. Philanthropy serves to address exactly that. However, it’s important to put your best foot forward once you do decide to spring into action. Take a page from the pros and implement the 3 skills above and you’ll soon have fellow philanthropist asking for the secret to your success.

Brad and Julie DuncanThese 3 Skills Will Make You a Better Philanthropist
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