Many people who have achieved financial success, whether through their own efforts or inherited family wealth, have the desire to help others. People may be moved to dedicate their lives to giving back, becoming philanthropists.
Giving back in this way can be deeply rewarding on a personal and spiritual level. Helping others with their goals can be satisfying, but there will come a time when you want to be in charge of how your funds are used.
Understanding your motivations for becoming a philanthropist can help to shape your giving in the future. This article will explain how you can become a philanthropist in your own right and explore some of the benefits you may experience.
Reasons to Give Back
Many would-be philanthropists are motivated by the increasing level of need in the world today. The global economy is suffering, and climate change is causing extreme weather patterns that hurt farmers. Hunger, instability, and a lack of education are all problems that a philanthropist could help to ease.
People who have the means to help sometimes feel overwhelmed by the level of need demonstrated in communities around the world. The prospect of making a measurable change may seem hopeless.
What sets the philanthropist apart from the average person is that when the average person sees reasons to lose hope, the philanthropist first asks “How can I help?”
Researching the Area
Before putting any money into a local project, it is smart to do your research. You will need to know the exact details of how the community has been suffering and what are the keys to its survival.
It is best to talk to a local leader to find out what the community needs before investing any money in a non-emergency situation. For example, instead of making large donations of food or clothing, find out what local farmers and business owners need to make things work.
Being Culturally Sensitive
Sometimes communities resist being helped by philanthropists because they do not have a culturally sensitive approach. Coming in as a “savior” can stir up trouble. Approaching a problem without thinking about the local culture is unwise.
One of the areas in which philanthropists need to be careful is religion. If you do not practice the same religion as the people in the local area, they may be skeptical when you try to put a religious theme to your giving. While missionaries frequently hope to convert others to their religion, most philanthropists should stay out of this.
Deciding Which Projects to Support
You may be interested in supporting an existing project, or you may see an unmet need in the community and decide to start something on your own. When you are considering which projects to support, decide what end goal you would like to meet. For example, if you decide to help build a school, your goal could be how many children you want to see enrolled. Long-term, the goals could include literacy and graduation rates.
Choosing Community Partners
Choosing a community partner could be complicated. You will need to select a person or organization with a true connection to the local area. It could be a mistake to choose a nationwide organization without ties to the local area. Going in with a respected partner can help to bring legitimacy to your project.
Be on the alert for frauds and scams. While most people are honest, a few bad actors can take away your reputation and cause you to be unwelcome in the community.
While you may be able to support a project using your personal wealth, it is likely that you will need partners to accomplish your goals. Soliciting donations of time or money can be awkward. Appeal to others’ conscience and show them exactly how their contributions will help to advance your project. Keep your collaborators in the loop as much as possible regarding your project, since this will give them a better sense of ownership and encourage repeat giving.
Rewards of Philanthropy
When you choose to use your resources to give back to the global community, you will experience a wide range of rewards. When your donations have meaning and purpose, you will feel fulfilled. A charity can be deeply personal, offering extra meaning to your life as a whole.
Taking the time to understand how your financial and organizational assistance can help organizations around the world means that you will be spending your money wisely. The personal rewards of philanthropy mean that you will be using your wealth for the common good. You can feel good about your contributions, creating a legacy that others can look up to for years to come.