Being a Philanthropist sounds so nobly that it is difficult to admit you may actually be one. Most people have an automatic connotation with a high net worth individual from the front pages of business magazines. And yes, wealthy and influential people are a very important group of philanthropists. But they are not the only ones.
You can be a philanthropist as an individual or a corporation. Most philanthropists donate their money but if you help with other resources – time, knowledge or your network, you are a philanthropist as well. Remember that any amount of what you share matters, there is no minimum level to reach in order to call yourself a philanthropist.
Let’s look at Michael. He is a logistics specialist and he loves dogs. He also happens to have 2 hours a week every Saturday. He decides to spend them on volunteering so he goes to an animal shelter in his neighborhood to ask if they need any help. They do. They ask him to walk and feed the dogs. After a few weeks he notices that there’s a room for improvement of the shelter’s logistics processes and he shares his ideas with the management. They decide to implement his suggestions which saves shelter a lot of money. Finally, one Saturday Michael sees a poster on an entrance gate – the shelter is raising funds for vaccines for dogs. He donates 100 Euro.
Do you think Michael is a philanthropist? Yes! He shared his time, skills and money. Would you still call him one if he donated only 5 Euro or shared just 1 hour a week? Yes! Michael is not only a great giver, he’s a strategic philanthropist. He knew what he cares about (dogs), he took time to find a proper institution (dog’s shelter) and he made the first move.
Now it is time for you to think about your donating in a way that gives results: What social issue do you want to tackle? What moves your heart? What do you plan to share: your money, time or knowledge? How much can you spend on giving this year? Can you count on any tax benefits in your country and if yes, maybe you can share more? These kind of questions should be considered if your giving is to be wise and thoughtful.