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.

Brad and Julie DuncanPhilanthropy: How to Give a Lot With a Little
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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.

Brad and Julie DuncanHave You Been Generous? Year-End Reflections For A Better 2019
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Simple Ways To Instill The Virtue Of Altruism To Children

If every parent consciously makes an effort to ensure their children grow up with a passion to help others, the world would definitely a better place. However, our competitive society today seems to be so focused on accumulating wealth and valuables. This makes the task of raising kind-hearted kids that will then become responsible adults quite a challenge.

Kids may be exposed to various people and environments as they are growing up, but their most important influence will start at home. This gives parents ample opportunity to instill the virtue of generosity to their children.It would be such an achievement to raise a kid with a big heart and generous spirit.So make an effort instill the virtue of altruism with the following tips:

Practice generosity.

You can preach all day about the importance of sharing and giving, but actions speak louder than words. It is better to set a good example by being a living representation of what generosity means. You can do this by lending a hand to a neighbor or a friend in need. You can also let your kids tag along while you serve as a volunteer on community projects. Your children will likely emulate your behavior, so allow them to see you giving back to society.

Stress the importance of kindness to others.

In order for your kids to understand that kindness matters, gently discuss with them how their actions can create a huge impact on others. Tell them that some families or children are not as blessed as others, but people who are more privileged can do a lot to make things easier for them. Young minds can get overwhelmed or confused when you talk about injustice, sickness or poverty; so remember to keep the discussion age-appropriate. This practice will serve a double purpose because aside from encouraging empathy, you also teach them to be grateful for the things they have.

Choose a cause to support.

Raising a caring and giving kid will be effortless if you make charity a family affair. You can ask family members to choose a charity or cause and determine the one you will support by voting. It will also be a fun bonding moment for the whole family as all of you find ways and share ideas on how to help the chosen charity. Aside from that you also hone your child’s skills in brainstorming and planning. You may just be surprised with the insights and suggestions that you will get from your child.

Give them opportunities to share.

Your children will understand that giving is something that can be part of their daily life if you give them opportunities to share everyday. One way to do this is by allowing your kids to pack an extra sandwich or snacks to share with school friends. You can also encourage them to write a thank you or appreciation note to teachers or other people that they mingle with everyday. Aside from teaching them to be thoughtful and generous, you also teach them good manners that are essential life skills.

Recognize good deeds.

Do not forget to complement your child if you notice him or her being thoughtful about the needs of others. Keep your appreciation genuine and point out the specific outcome of the good deed done. Your praise will allow your child to feel good about being kind. It will also encourage positive behavior and build self-esteem.

Let them experience the fulfillment that generosity brings.

It is a nice bedtime routine to discuss with your child the good deeds he or she had done during the day. Ask your child how he or she feels after doing something good for others. Your child will likely feel fulfilled and happy, so it is a nice way to let them understand the benefits of giving. Let your kids know that in giving, they are also doing themselves a big favor.

Your children are your legacy. If you want to leave a lasting positive legacy to the world, focus on raising children who are caring and altruistic. As parents, this is one of your most important tasks and this is definitely one of the best gifts you can give humanity.

Brad and Julie DuncanSimple Ways To Instill The Virtue Of Altruism To Children
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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.

Brad and Julie DuncanReady To Pursue Altruism? Four Things To Ponder On
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Three Approaches to Corporate Philanthropy You Can Implement

Corporate philanthropy is the act of contributing time, attention, publicity, products or money to a charitable cause. This concept has become a staple amongst modern business models. Increasingly, large companies are deciding to implement philanthropic programs that serve the communities in which they operate. Keep reading for three acts that fall under the corporate philanthropy umbrella.

  1. Donation: In the business world, donating is a common form of philanthropy. This method of corporate giving is popular because it delivers a quick turn around period from idea to action. When donating, the money or product can be provided by one of three sources: your employees, your customers or the business’ own savings/inventory. Whether donating time, ideas or goods, your organization can meet a need without having to engage in multiple tedious planning sessions to accomplish the goal. Donating can be as simple as calling a charity to learn what its needs are, then sending a company-wide email that states the cause, wish list items and the deadline. It can even be done with no employee involvement if the company chooses to front the bill itself. Below are a few ideas of different approaches to corporate philanthropy through donation:

  • Donate products.
  • Donate pro bono services.
  • Donate technology.
  • Donate expertise.
  • Donate a portion of sales made.
  • Donate all proceeds towards a cause.
  • Match employees’ monetary donations.
  • Create a program where employees can voluntarily donate an amount that will be automatically deducted from their checks .
  • Host a drive (food drive, blood drive, back-to-school drive, Thanksgiving drive or Christmas drive).
  • Ask customers/clients to donate to the organization, with the guarantee that the company will oversee the delivery or pickup of the donated items.

  1. Sponsorship: Sponsorship covers the financial backing of an activity, group or individual in hopes of providing opportunity or access that didn’t readily exist. Sponsorship can range from anonymous financial support to hands on, public involvement. For example, assistance can be limited to solely financial support, allowing the recipient to handle any required planning, maintenance or management. On the other end of the spectrum, sponsorship could entail funding, hosting and upkeep (if the commitment is long-term). Here are a few sponsorship examples:
  • Sponsor an event (fundraiser, tournament, camp, class, dinner, etc.).
  • Provide scholarships.
  • Sponsor a group, troop, team or club (The Boy or Girl Scouts of America, a high school club, a little league team, etc.).
  • Sponsor the development of a service or technology that benefits an underserved population.
  • Offer grants to creators/researchers who work in a field your company aligns with.

  1. Raising Awareness: As a public entity, your corporation has a platform and voice that most individuals don’t possess. Your brand’s influence and reach is wide and you’ve built a large audience. All of these factors work together to create the ideal environment for raising awareness. This form of philanthropy is unique because it’s heavily dependent on the exposure you provide, rather than the funds. Raising awareness can appear as a dedicated section or link on your website, a mention in a commercial or a visual in your establishment. This approach works best when attempting to inform the public of a social issue, disease or tragedy. The goal is to inspire the reader to take action. You may champion against bullying or advocate for cancer research. You could shine a light on a global matter or provide statistics about childhood hunger. Whatever the cause, after informing, align the next steps with an organization that works in that field. The more people who empathize with a problem, the more likely it is to be addressed.

Philanthropy is a noble undertaking that should be approached with dedication. In the corporate setting, businesses have both the resources and the manpower to increase the impact of their giving. No matter which way you choose to give back to your community, the lives you touch will forever be changed for the better.

Brad and Julie DuncanThree Approaches to Corporate Philanthropy You Can Implement
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How to Become a Successful Philanthropist

Helping people in need is both one of the most rewarding and important callings we have in life. But making these philanthropic impacts can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, if you don’t know where to start or how to reach and touch the lives of as many people as you can. Remember these three tips on your journey to becoming a successful philanthropist. And, you will be well on your way to effectively helping and improving the lives of the most people as possible in no time!

Forget about the praise

Remember that the work you are doing and all the efforts you devote to your philanthropic goals are ultimately not for you. Philanthropy exists to serve others, so don’t let the attention, glory, and admiration, that will no doubt come with a successful and effective philanthropy, get in the way of helping others. Keep your focus on your goals and the lives you are improving – that’s what makes everything worth it. All the other stuff that comes with it is just icing on the cake.

Create a sense of urgency

Grow your project by spreading the word. Inform others of the issues you are passionate about – and deliver your messages with importance. Tell them why you believe this particular issue is one worth fighting. Inform them with factual information and specific examples. Do your research and know your facts so you can effectively convince people why they should be passionate about it too.

Use the power of the single story

Use the power of the single story to spread this sense of urgency. Single stories are stories that tell the narrative of just one person.  They give a personal, and sometimes emotional, glimpse into someone else’s reality. They share honest details of what life is like for someone else. By sharing the facts of someone’s story with others, you will not only spread awareness about your cause, but you will also make others care about it as well.

Remain mindful of the danger of the single story

But be wary of using the power of the single story because, just as they can be used to spread awareness and urgency about your cause, they can also be easily manipulated into stereotypes. When telling one story it is almost second nature to assume that everyone else who has had similar life experiences has felt the same way or faced the same challenges. So know a variety of stories and share a balance of them.

At the end of the day, whether you are “successful” or not in philanthropy, is not the main goal. The main goal is serving and blessing others in the way that you have been. As long as you are giving back with a clear mind and a full heart, you need nothing else!

Brad and Julie DuncanHow to Become a Successful Philanthropist
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Tips for New Philanthropists

New to the philanthropy scene? Not to worry, we have some universal tips for new philanthropists. Even if you’ve been in the business of helping others for as long as you can remember, it doesn’t hurt to take a quick refresher course on best practices.

Tips for New Philanthropists

Learn From Those Who Have Come Before You

When you’re first starting out as a new philanthropist, it’s important to recognize that you’re not the first person to pursue this particular corner of philanthropy. No matter how specific the need you’re fulfilling is, there’s a great chance that someone before you has tried to solve the same problem. If not, there’s been someone who’s tried to solve a remarkably similar issue.

Regardless, the best place to start as a new philanthropist is at the very beginning. As commonsensical as that may seem, it’s an undeniable truth. Start by learning from those who have come before you, so you never make their same mistakes, and you can build upon their experiences, rather than reinventing the wheel.

Figure Out How to Define Your Own Impact

That being said, as a new philanthropist, you have to figure out a way to define your own impact. You can build upon the work of those who have come before you, but you must always to remember to make your impact your own.

Philanthropy is one of the best, most positive ways to make your mark on the world. Make sure the message you scrawl out on the sands of time is one of hope.

Seek Only Sustainable Philanthropy

Speaking of the sands of time, consider that every philanthropic act you take will have reverberating consequences that will last long after you’re gone.

When you’re looking for opportunities to do good in the world, be sure that the work you sign up to do is sustainable philanthropy. Sustainable philanthropy is the kind that can continue without your help—or anyone else’s outside help, for that matter.

With regard to sustainable philanthropy, the work you do in other communities, or even in your own community, should be able to be taken over by the people within that community with ease.

The best legacy you can leave is one of having helped others to help themselves.

Brad and Julie DuncanTips for New Philanthropists
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