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
Read More

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.

Brad and Julie DuncanCan Your Philanthropic Ways Inspire Others To Do The Same?
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More