Philanthropic giving can grow a community by providing needed support for the poor and underserved, to improve education, and to establish a culture of arts and music. Most Americans are aware of noted philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, and Warren Buffett that have donated millions of dollars to worthy causes. The misconception is that philanthropy is dependent on having great wealth. There are ways that ordinary people can provide extraordinary gifts to amazing causes while staying within their financial means.
Here are a few strategies that can start an ordinary individual down the path of philanthropic giving:
*Plan. Writing a big check at the end of the year can be overwhelming, but writing several smaller checks to support a good cause can be more manageable. Organizations get large donations, but my experience has been that it is those donors that faithfully give small amounts that help pay the bills each month.
*Talk to your employer. Some companies have annual giving campaigns that allow employees to payroll deduct a few dollars every pay period to help support community organizations like United Way. In some cases, the employer will match the employee’s donations, making for a larger donation.
*Time = Treasure. Giving of your hard-earned money is a great show of support, but when you schedule your time to volunteer that is a huge statement of your passion for the cause. There are plenty of tasks that can be done either during the workday or to assist with special events.
*Tell others. Everyone has a circle of influence that they interact with. Let your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and other acquaintances know what causes you are supporting, why you support them, and ways that they can participate if they would like. Sharing your story might encourage others to get involved.
*Pace yourself. There are so many wonderful opportunities worthy of time, talents, and money, and it can be difficult to choose which ones you can partner with. Unfortunately, the needs will be more than most people can adequately address. Do your research and choose avenues that allow you to become fully invested in their mission.
These suggestions can help you get started on the road toward building your community. As more of us jump in and help we will see our communities impacted. That will bring others in that want to be a part of the change. Every small step is a step forward, and I hope that you will begin your journey toward philanthropic giving soon.