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.

Brad and Julie DuncanEveryday Philanthropy
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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.

Brad and Julie DuncanCan Your Philanthropic Ways Inspire Others To Do The Same?
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Leading with a Teacher’s Heart

Teachers spend their days imparting wisdom through lessons of love, compassion and inspiration. In turn, students grow into more capable, informed and mature versions of their former selves. They take their teachers’ guidance and go on to accomplish more than ever imagined. Entrepreneurial leaders can take those same methods and adapt them for the workplace and net similar results. Here’s how to lead with a teacher’s heart.

Affective Filter

In the teaching world, instructors are aware of a concept called the affective filter. This phrase describes an abstract boundary that plays a hand in a student’s ability to acquire a second language. A high affective filter means the student may feel a combination of self-consciousness, anxiety and tension. Contrarily, a low affective filter is marked by confidence, comfort, assurance and a willingness to take risks. Affective filters can be affected by intrinsic factors but can also change due to the environment or interpersonal interactions. Teachers work to control the second two.

Great teachers foster environments of inclusivity, affirmation and acceptance. They rebuke damaging responses when student mistakes are made and respect each pupil’s preference that affect their ability to process information. Amazing leaders can do the same. Earn your employees’ trust,

New Slate Every Day

Teachers understand that their students are in a constant state of learning, which means they will make plenty of mistakes. When children are in school, they are faced with new challenges every day, some of which causes them frustration and stress. When students feel these negative emotions, they sometimes act out in ways that are not ideal. As humans, instructors naturally feel disappointment and frustration in response, but they habitually try to understand the perspective of their students and offer new mercies every morning. They have high standards and expect the best, but reserve plenty of room for grace.

As a leader of adults in a work environment, your standards will undoubtedly include a smaller margin or error, but that doesn’t cancel out the necessity for patience altogether. Follow the example that teachers set and try to start each day with patience and understanding. Remember that your employees are trying their best and want to perform just as well as you’d want them to. However, everyone has the occasional off-day or noticeable mistake.   

Specialized to Each learner  

In many of today’s schools, teachers are presented with a class of unique learners. No two students have the exact same personality, preferences or learning style. To account for those differences, great teachers individualize instruction. Adept instructors constantly assess and reassess students’ needs and progress, then do what’s best to maintain a balance of challenge and accomplishment. They also make small changes to each lesson to help students thrive. For shy students, they may only call on them when their hand is raised. For active students, they may teach a lesson that intertwines exercise with the academic concept. However they can best serve each student, they do.

On the job, leaders too can specialize tasks. Distribute  a communication style assessment and personality test to figure out how each employee works best, then adapt their environment to fit their needs. Pay attention to their communication style, then converse with them using their favorite methods.

Teachers earn their students’ trust and inspire their best work by remaining attentive and sharing information in a kind and effective way. They pour their hearts into every student, every day, without cease. You too can yield the same results with daily practice. Leading with the heart of teacher is bound to help your employees feel secure and valued, giving them the confidence to outperform even your expectations.

Brad and Julie DuncanLeading with a Teacher’s Heart
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Pointers to Remember In Raising Brave & Adventurous Children

We live in a big and uncertain world. Thus, it is easy to understand moms and dads who are overly protective of their children. Yet on second thought, the ultimate role of a parent is not to shield their kids from danger, but to equip them with skills that will enable them to cope with whatever challenges that may come their way. As sad as it may sound, parents cannot be by their children’s side all the time or forever. At one point, you will have to let go of your kids and allow them to explore the world on their own. This moment is something that parents should get ready for. Courage is a must if you want to survive and achieve great things in life, so responsible parents should make it a priority to instill bravery and resilience in their children.

Nevertheless, your goal to raise kids with a tough spirit is easier said than done. Most of the time, parents are faced with a difficult dilemma because giving children some degree of freedom is also risking their safety. For this reason, some parents would rather keep their kids sheltered and perfectly unscathed inside the home. So how do you awaken a sense of adventure in your children so they will be eager rather than scared to chart their own path? The following reminders can help you raise brave and adventurous children.

Be a model of courage.

As stressed time and time again, parents should practice what they preach. Parents who want to raise brave kids should also examine their behaviors. Children learn best by imitating and are likely to pick up the habits of those around them, so consciously set a good example. If you manage to stay calm and alert during a stressful situation, your kids will also have the strength to be brave during similar situations. Moreover, a research study from the University of Wisconsin confirms that parents can pass their anxiety to their kids.

Discuss your child’s fears.

Children can be scared of the littlest things and parents can sometimes be tempted to dismiss it as something inconsequential. But if you truly want to help your children overcome this fear, start by discussing it with your child. Try to understand where the fear is coming from by listening intently to your child and be genuinely sympathetic. Instead of laughing off the fear, gradually encourage them to face the things that are causing them anxiety.

Share inspiring stories of bravery.

Storytelling is an effective way to introduce concepts and ideas such as courage and resilience. Share stories about men and women who successfully overcome diversity through braving great odds. Literature and cinema offer a wide resource you can use to inspire children to overcome fear. Give them books that depict the importance of bravery. Or allow them to watch movies in which courage is the prevailing theme.

Mind your warnings and reminders.

As parents, you may often hear yourself saying the phrase “be careful” to your child numerous times. In an attempt to avoid any untoward incidents, there is nothing wrong in reminding your kids to be careful. Still, constant notice to stay safe does not really accomplish anything and may even incite fear to kids. According to university professor, Ellen Beate Sandseter, parents can effectively help their kids stay safe by using specific and action-oriented terms. For example, in a playground where a kid is playing on monkey bars, a mother can say terms such as, “stay focused” or “take your time” rather than “be careful”. Instead of presenting the dangers that may happen, you teach kids ways to tackle the challenge with ease.

From day one, parents should already be aware of the importance of fostering independence on their children. Courage is an essential trait to survive and achieve great things in life. Making a conscious effort to raise brave and adventurous children is one of the best gifts you can give your kids.

Brad and Julie DuncanPointers to Remember In Raising Brave & Adventurous 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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Creative Ways To Reinvent Yourself & Discover New Passions

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting… – Paulo Coelho

Do you feel stuck in a boring routine that you are no longer excited to face each day? Are you longing for something new to inspire your creativity? If you feel so unmotivated because of doing the same thing over and over, it is probably time to reinvent yourself.

Life offers endless opportunities for growth and learning and the road to reinvention is a path open to everyone. Sometimes it is even necessary in order to keep up with the demands of the fast-changing world we live in. Some people may associate reinvention with drastic changes, but do not let that scare you. With bravery and creativity, small changes can successfully awaken your zest for life and let you discover new passions.

Mingle with a new crowd.

Been hanging out with the same folks for years? You may want to widen your social circle and meet new people. This doesn’t mean you have to break old friendships or cut ties with your constant companions. It just means you should explore new grounds by connecting with other people. One way to do this is by joining organizations that reflect your interests and participate in their activities. New friends or contacts can broaden your perspectives or offer a new way of doing things.

Change your look.

The way you look and dress affects your mood and conveys a message to others. Sometimes, reinvention is as simple as changing your outfit. Donning the same style of clothes or refusing a new kind of hairstyle could be subtle indicators that you dislike change or trying new things.

Change is essential for reinvention to take place, so be bold and experiment with new looks. Of course, you want the style upgrade to increase your confidence and enhance your appearance. Ideally, the positive effects of your new style will also make you feel eager to tackle new tasks.

Ask questions.

The plain old routine you are accustomed to may have worked for years. But it is likely your reliable routine will also benefit from improvements or upgrades. So be brave and ask questions about the existing procedures or routines you are following. Your “why’s” and “what ifs” may sound ridiculous at first, but just maybe, it can start a change that will dramatically improve your way of life.

Think out of the box.

Maybe you have fully mastered a certain craft and you no longer find it challenging. Hang on and do not embark on an entirely new career all at once. Continue to study your craft, push yourself and dare to innovate. The new techniques you may discover along the way might just be the spark you need to revive your interest on your passions.

Have a break.

Examine your lifestyle and you may just see that the reason your days feel dreary is due to exhaustion. So be kind to yourself and take a break. To embark on new interests or pursue fresh goals, you need a clear mind that is free from stress. Taking a trip to a relaxing place or simply having some quiet time will get you ready for new challenges. The new surroundings will also help you see old things in a new light and nurture your inner spirit. After the break, you may find yourself bursting with vibrant energy and cool ideas

Change offers no guarantees so most people choose to stick with the safe, but monotonous way of life. Oftentimes though, this is not the way to go if you do not want to simply breeze through life. The commitment to continuously improve yourself through reinvention will allow you to experience the joys of immense self-fulfillment.

Brad and Julie DuncanCreative Ways To Reinvent Yourself & Discover New Passions
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Six Easy Ways to Be an Amazing Motivational Leader

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Great leaders know that motivation is the key to success. Motivation is all about inspiring people to want keep going. People only give their max effort to those who will value it the most. You have to find a way to show them that you are that person. Keep reading for 6 ways to motivate your team:

Recognition

The best leaders take time to recognize accomplishments, improvements, and efforts that go above and beyond. Giving it your all, only to receive no acknowledgement, is demotivating. Some leaders make the mistake of justifying their inaction with sentiments like, “You should work hard, no matter who notices.” While most people do work hard, no matter the circumstance, a lack of acknowledgement can make employees feel that their efforts are intentionally being ignored. Resentment builds and before they know it, their hardest worker is now doing the bare minimum, out of spite. This can be avoided by being intentional about praise.

Empathy

People are more intrinsically inclined to produce their best work when they feel they are valued and understood. A little empathy goes a long way. Whether employees are feeling under the weather, or facing personal tragedies, they will undoubtedly feel comforted knowing their leader is genuinely concerned. Putting yourself in their shoes gives you a different viewpoint and helps you respond from that perspective. It allows you to show patience instead of frustration, kindness instead of annoyance, and mercy instead of punishment. Empathy allows you to be more human than business minded and sometimes, that’s what chaotic situations require. Real people face real problems. Everyday won’t be ideal. Having a leader who understands and respects that makes all the difference in how employees feel overall about their job and leader.

Trust

Trust is motivating factor that is often overlooked in the business realm. When a leader extends her trust, it illustrates her confidence in her employees. Having a leader who knows that you are reliable and capable motivates you to do all that you can to continue to be trustworthy.

Trust at work can present itself in many different forms. Leaders should trust employees to:

  • Problem solve without being micromanaged
  • Share their thoughts
  • Handle greater responsibility
  • Be autonomous
  • Choose how they work best
  • Manage when they need time away from work

If your team has shown themselves to be worthy of trust, give it to them. They won’t let you down.

Rewards

Most people are loyal to their company, regularly go beyond the call of duty, put in more hours than they have to, and take pride in their work. While gratefulness and words of affirmation are both necessary and appreciated, tangible gifts really drive the point home. It’s one thing to say you value strong work ethic; it’s another to prove it.

Consider giving:

  • Random days off
  • Catered lunches
  • Vacation packages
  • Gift cards

Fun Environment

Fact: Happy people are more effective. No one wants to wake up early, get dressed, and sit in traffic only to spend 8 hours in a place that they hate. The nature of the work may be serious, but that doesn’t mean that the office needs to be stuffy. Create an environment where stress is low, laughs are plenty and your staff actually wants to smile. Schedule team builders, leave the office occasionally, decorate, open some windows. Consider implementing spirit weeks and parties. Relax the dress code. Play games, sing karaoke, take dance breaks – be lighthearted.

In the same regard, make sure to have strict policies against things that cause bad feelings in the office. Bullying, sexual harassment, and workplace gossip should all have a zero tolerance policy.

Advancement

Humans desire growth; it’s in our DNA. While familiarity is comfortable and change can be scary, most of us still set goals in pursuit of the next level. We desire challenge and celebrate our ability to conquer it. Even with the best pay, benefits, and leadership, an unchallenged employee will leave. As a respected leader, know that this is true and plan ahead. Encourage employees to continually pursue higher education and advanced certifications. Don’t frustrate your team by failing to provide new opportunities. Prove that you see the progress they’ve made and you have a vision for their potential. Give them new responsibilities that you think they’d do well with. Offer new roles and compensate accordingly.

As a leader, your job is to continually bring out the best of each member of your team. If you prioritize your employees and they will, in turn, prioritize the business. The 6 methods above will help you make motivation your mission.

Brad and Julie DuncanSix Easy Ways to Be an Amazing Motivational Leader
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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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