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.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Ideas To Celebrate Thanksgiving With Philanthropy
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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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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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Have You Been Generous? Year-End Reflections For A Better 2019

“Giving pays the highest interest rate, and has the longest term,
of any investment available.” Jeffrey K. Wilson

It seems like just yesterday you welcomed 2018 with a bang and in a flash, the last month of the year is here! If you are wondering where the year went and how well you have done, a little self reflection can help. There are many ways to measure how fruitful the year has been but one unique way to do it is by assessing how generous you have been. The positive effect of of even a simple act of kindness can inspire others to pay it forward.

Generosity can be life changing and is likely to have a ripple effect. If you exerted efforts to give back to society, then you can indeed conclude that it had been a wonderful and productive year. Reflecting on your philanthropic endeavors can likewise help you prepare for a better year ahead. It is a great way to wrap up up the year and welcome the new one on a positive note. Here are three questions to ask yourself for a meaningful year-end reflection.

Are you sincere and passionate about giving?

Philanthropy is a rewarding activity for many reasons. For one, a study revealed that a caring attitude increases life expectancy. However, the benefits that you will gain from altruism should not be your primary reason for doing good deeds. Your journey on philanthropy will be purposeful if you do it with a genuine desire to extend a helping hand to others.

Forget your selfish reasons and focus on how your actions can benefit others than yourself. our sincerity will not be a question if you truly enjoy doing philanthropic activities. It will therefore greatly help to choose a cause that is close to your heart or will allow you to do the things you love. If you are passionate about doing charitable work, your actions are likely to feel more rewarding than tiring.

Do you practice philanthropy in your daily life?

Charitable activities may bring to mind a formal volunteering event or supporting a particular fundraising campaign. The true philanthropist, though, understands that being charitable is not a one-time act or event. Rather, it is a way of life. If you pay close attention to the needs of others you can discover numerous ways to practice philanthropy as you go about your day. So grab any chance you can get to offer help to the people you interact with everyday. Try incorporating generosity in your daily agenda and you may just see positive improvement in your life.

What else can you do to give more?

If you have been regularly contributing to a particular cause, you can discover more ways to serve others or help an organization. Maybe you can recruit more volunteers or train new ones. You can probably act as a leader of a team, too. Growth is possible even in your philanthropic life so do not be afraid to take new and more challenging responsibilities if you feel ready for it.

In the end, your reflection regarding philanthropy can make you feel accomplished or melancholic. In case your reflection leads to an awareness that 2018 has not been good in terms of altruistic activities, resist the urge to wallow in regret. The good news is that you still have December to share your blessings and spread kindness. You do not have to worry f your holiday schedule is so full that it is impossible to squeeze in philanthropy on your list. With the new year approaching, you will soon have twelve whole months to plan and carry out generous activities.

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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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Philanthropy Is Possible Without Spending A Penny

Do you have this burning desire to extend goodwill to others yet feel constrained with financial issues yourself? Most people associate philanthropy with wealthy individuals which are capable of donating huge amounts of money to a particular organization. This common misconception may discourage an average income earner to participate in any philanthropic activities.

However, an affluent status is never a requirement for one to give and share. Philanthropy is derived from the Greek word, philanthropos meaning love for mankind so anyone who is genuinely willing to offer assistance to the needy fits into the category. You do not have to spend a fortune to carve your path on philanthropy. It is even possible not to spend a single penny at all. As a bonus, you will realize that every philanthropic act you do offers instant rewards. The saying, “you give and receive more” is true indeed! Check out some suggestions below:

Share Your Talents & Skills

Everybody has a skill or talent to share. If you love teaching, you can volunteer as a tutor at local schools. Those who excel in arts can conduct a class in nursing centers or homeless shelters. Professionals such as doctors and engineers can choose a cause or organization where they can offer their services for free. Just contact various communities near you to discover how you can make a valuable contribution.

Benefits: If you love what you do, this act will barely feel like work. It is also a productive way to hone your skills and practice your craft.

Give Away Stuff You Do Not Use

Roam around your house or clean your closet and you will likely discover tons of things that are still in good shape yet you do not use or need. It can be old books, toys, or clothes. Instead of tossing them in the trash, think of new places where your stuff can serve a better purpose. Donating is surely a better alternative instead of letting unnecessary items gather dust in your abode.

Benefits: You will probably breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of a clutter-free home. A tidy environment can clear your mind and increase your productivity too.

Literally, Give A Part Of You

As long as you are breathing, you have something to give. If you meet the physical and age requirements, you may want to consider donating blood to help patients in need of blood transfusions. Meanwhile, breastfeeding mothers can share their extra milk to newborn babies in neonatal care units. Mothers who are lucky enough to have a generous supply of breast milk will be heaven-sent for other moms with low to no milk supply. Other body parts you can share include hair, stem cells, umbilical cords, and bone marrow. You may also consider signing up to be an organ donor in case of untoward incidents.

Benefits: How cool would it feel to think that you have been a lifesaver? Moreover, donating blood and giving breast milk improves your overall health.

The list above can go on and on. Philanthropy is a great avenue to display your resourcefulness and creativity so it is possible to come up with more ways to help. You will be surprised at how much you can do without even opening your wallet. Remember that most of the best things you can give such as time and energy cost nothing at all. So keep on spreading love and do not allow lack of money to dampen your altruistic nature.

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