The Secret to Living is Giving
For years, every time I heard the word ‘philanthropy’ I associated it with buckets of cash that Bill Gates and the like gave to those in need. I had a belief that you needed to be wealthy to give, and the only way to give was with money!
So what does philanthropy really mean? It is the giving of money or time to make life better for other people. The real key to this is not expecting anything in return. Easier said than done. And is there actually more than one way to give. YES.
Unplanned giving is a response to a request or appeal from an event or friends and family. Spontaneous giving is where you are motivated at the moment to give based on your personal interests or beliefs. Planned giving is a more deliberate structured approach.
Here are some key points to consider when it comes to giving:
1. Why are you giving?
If you are doing it to get recognition, then you’re missing the point. Don’t rush out and put ‘philanthropist’ on your LinkedIn profile - not yet anyway. Giving should come from within, from the heart, and feel amazing when you do it.
2. Do you have the resources to give?
It is important to know what financial resources you have to give but also non-financial (time, skills or knowledge). But don’t over think it. I always say to whoever listens; if you don’t give $1 when you only have $100 then you won’t give $1000 when you have $1m. If you are a giver you are a giver. Money only amplifies who you are before you had money.
Don’t get me wrong it is important to understand the amount of money you have to give and the period you want to give it over i.e. lump now, over time, or in your Will.
3. Who will be the recipient of your giving?
I consider giving to family a form of philanthropy. The feeling you get from giving to them versus a stranger is very different. Give it a try. Helping family is beautiful and fills your soul with joy and happiness but the feeling you get giving to a total stranger is also extraordinary.
There are many causes that benefit so many people. Find one that lights you up! The other day I was driving to work and I heard there was research done in Newcastle on how many people were homeless. As this is happening in my home town it means more to me, so I have got involved to support homeless people in my own back yard.
At its core philanthropy is about sharing whatever you have to assist others in need. When was the last time you gave and how did you feel?