How to Become an Effective Philanthropist and Do Your Part for a Better World
Posted on June 19, 2019
Philanthropy is any act that is performed for the betterment of humanity. Philanthropy is derived from “Philos” which means loving and “Anthropos” meaning humankind.
Acts of philanthropy are not done with the motive of generating a profit. Philanthropic giving is on a steady rise as donors across various demographics show an increased interest in various issues such as environmental, medical research, etc.
Philanthropy is often confused with charity. However, they are different. While acts of philanthropy are directed towards eliminating social issues, charitable acts focus on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems.
How can Philanthropy change the world?
Philanthropy is an unselfish act of “giving” to the world to help make it a better place for all types of people. Philanthropists have the opportunity to impact society by donating resources. Philanthropy catalyzes long-term changes by addressing the root cause of various social issues affecting society.
Philanthropists can make a difference to the world by:
- Improving and strengthening communities
- Support the Arts
- Supporting Medical Research
- Enhancing the quality and reach of Education by building schools
- Provide relief for victims of wars and natural disasters. etc.
The current digital environment has helped philanthropy thrive. It has not only increased the awareness level for various causes but also enabled philanthropists to contribute beyond geographical limits.
Some examples of major success stories of philanthropy are:
In the 1940s poverty reduction overseas was not considered a priority by many. It was supported by philanthropic donations rather than by a government initiative. It was the Rockefeller Foundation that funded agricultural scientists to breed better crops for the developing world. This helped increase their food production.
Similarly, in the 1950s, the first effective birth control pill was created thanks to philanthropic donations. The pill was the idea of activist Margret Sanger. The Gregory Pincus research team needed funds to the tune of $40,000 to proceed. This was furnished by a check from biologist and women’s rights activist, Katherine Cormick.
How do you become a philanthropist?
Giving to the community creates a good feeling in the donor! Most people want to contribute to society but don’t know how and sometimes they may lack the resources to contribute.
When we think of philanthropy names of celebrities such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, etc. cross our mind and we feel that we lack the resources that they have and so we cannot contribute. However, the good news is that you don’t need to be rich to become a philanthropist. Besides, contributing to certain nonprofits also brings tax-benefits.
Anyone can be a philanthropist!
Contribute to a Nonprofit
- In order to become a philanthropist, you should search the internet for nonprofits and choose one that this aligned to your objectives.
- It is essential to check the credibility of the nonprofit since there are a number of fraudulent organizations in the field of philanthropy.
- Once you have researched and found a nonprofit that you like, you can register with them and contribute small monthly donations to them.
- If you are short of resources and are finding it difficult to donate, you can still associate yourself with the nonprofit by offering volunteering services during fundraising and other events organized by the nonprofit.
- Volunteering can also be done in addition to contributing funds.
Philanthropy can also be done in the form of venture philanthropy. Venture philanthropy implies setting up an organization which works for social initiatives without a profit motive.
Many high-profile celebrities have led the way for venture philanthropy by establishing foundations that have worked for social causes. It is encouraging to note that these celebrities are leading the way by realizing that contributing to society at large brings more meaning to life.
Some famous philanthropists are:
Led the 100 Million Meals Challenge with Feeding America, providing a quarter of a billion meals to those in need. He also worked for Operation Underground Railroad for prevention of child trafficking.
The Tony Robins Foundation has awarded over 2,000 grants and other resources to various health and human services organizations. It has implemented curriculum in more than 1,600 correctional facilities besides many other philanthropic activities.
When speaking of famous philanthropists, one of the most famous names is Bill Gates. He believes that people who are incredibly wealthy owe it to the world to give back. His net worth is estimated at nearly $94 Billion and he has contributed $50 Billion to various nonprofits. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed to a number of activities such as healthcare in Nigeria and providing educational resources in Chicago.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have decided to contribute 99% of their wealth to charity. Currently, this amount stands at $46 Billion. The Chan-Zuckerberg foundation has been contributing funds towards various science, justice, and educational initiatives.
Corporate Philanthropy entails a corporation promoting a social cause by contributing funds, efforts or time. Corporate philanthropy is on a rise as more and more companies are realizing their responsibility towards society. Just last year corporations donated about $17.77 Billion to nonprofits!
Corporate philanthropy can be through various avenues:
- Matching Gifts:
Corporations will match the donated amount to nonprofits by their employees.
- Volunteer Grants:
Corporations match their employees’ nonprofit volunteer hours with donations to the nonprofit.
- Employee Grants:
Corporations award grants to employees to contribute to nonprofits of their choice.
- Community Grants:
It is less common than the above methods. In this case, nonprofits need to approach companies that contribute through community grants and appraise the company on how their nonprofit will benefit the local community to avail a grant from them.
- Volunteer Support Initiatives:
Organizations provide support to nonprofits by partnering through their employees with them. This support could be in the form of materials such as food, technology or specialized services of their employees such as mentoring, consulting, etc.
Philanthropy is becoming popular among various demographics. One of the emerging technologies supporting philanthropy is iConnectX!
iConnectX is a networking platform that harnesses the power of your network to support nonprofits. We help connect professionals, executives, experts, and companies with each other and with nonprofit organizations to help increase participation in events, auctions, and donations.
If you are curious for more on philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy updates you on the latest happenings in the world of nonprofits. It is a Washington DC-based magazine that serves nonprofit leaders, fundraisers, grants, etc. It provides news, advice, and resources on nonprofits.