Why Philanthropists Shouldn’t Waste Time

Philanthropists are a force.

There is nothing as powerful as a group of informed individuals willing to act for the betterment of society. However, your philanthropy is also deeply personal. The satisfaction that comes from helping others motivates us to do more, consider what we can accomplish in our lifetime, and assess what we leave to future generations.

A path like that doesn’t just happen by chance. The change you want to see in the world requires intention, planning, and aligning your head with your heart. You must develop your own philanthropic strategy. When it comes to putting charity and strategy together, think about how you’ve approached your career, family, and financial goals with thoughtful analysis and thoughtful action. What makes your charitable work any different?

Whether you are a seasoned philanthropist or a burgeoning one, there is never a bad time to be strategic about your giving. You can take control of your philanthropy and make a meaningful impact by championing the causes you care about. Here are some conversation starters philanthropists can consider to boost perspectives around changing their charitable vision:

Learn how to give according to your values

What kind of philanthropist do you want to be and is your philanthropy truly aligned with that vision? It’s okay to be unsure. In the realm of charity, we are generally taught to look outwards—to donate to the most well-known institutions, to carry on family traditions, and to support what’s in the news. Ask yourself, what matters most to you? What is the change you want to see? When you understand your values, they become the foundation for your philanthropy and your vision begins to take shape.

The best work often takes place under-the-radar

Even though there are over 85,000 registered charities in Canada, only 1% receive 66% of all donations. The overwhelming number of choices can cause donors to default to supporting the biggest names. These organizations certainly have a place in your portfolio, but social change is a balancing act with lesser-known and grassroots organizations playing a vital role in trying out new approaches and providing on-the-ground programming and services.

When you develop a giving strategy that is based on your values, you are more likely to recognize and fund under-the-radar non-profits that do important work. By exploring your options, you may find an organization working on a specific idea, problem, or solution aligned with your charitable goals—and your contribution may prove to be a catalyst for success.

Become change-oriented instead of transactional

Let’s go back to the first question: who are you as a philanthropist? What is it all for? When your philanthropy aligns with what motivates you, it allows you to experience life in a more meaningful way. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for more than writing a cheque every year. Participating in learning, volunteering, serving on boards, advocating, and being part of a community of people with shared values is what informed philanthropy is all about. It’s about getting involved with your head, heart, and hands.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to philanthropy, so you have to have heart-felt conversations while you are getting started. In stepping into your philanthropic identity, we hope you discover that your leadership will become one of your most valuable assets to make a positive impact on society.

Visit my website or contact me if you would like ideas for getting involved, giving back, or creating a legacy, and to hear my lessons learned from running the Srinarayanathas Foundation. I’m happy to help because together we can make a difference!

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