Four Philanthropic Mistakes You May Be Guilty Of

Four Philanthropic Mistakes You May Be Guilty Of

While we are free to choose our actions,
we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.
-Stephen Covey

Altruistic activities are anything but easy. Therefore, people who devote time and resources in this endeavor would naturally want to see great results. But as they say, bad things can happen even with the best intentions. For this reason, even noble acts such as philanthropy can sometimes cause more harm than good. Sometimes, people whose only aim is to extend help to others unknowingly commit mistakes that even aggravate the problem they want to solve. This is disheartening because an act of generosity can change lives for the better and start a ripple of goodness. To avoid letting your efforts to help others go to waste, you may want to reflect if you are guilty of the following philanthropic mistakes:

You aim to help but not to empower.

One criticism against philanthropy is that it has the tendency to lead to dependency. This happens when the giver treats beneficiaries as helpless individuals. Although you want to give your all when helping, remember that you cannot do everything by yourself all the time. To turn lives around, the ultimate aim of philanthropy should be to create ways that will teach people how to be independent. This can be done by helping and empowering people at the same time. Aside from giving funds or lending assistance when needed, philanthropy should also involve an effort to build people’s confidence that would later lead to self-sufficiency. The impact of a good deed will surely multiply if the focus is on empowering individuals. 

You help out of pity and not compassion.

Philanthropy becomes more meaningful if you do it for the right reasons. This includes examining your real motive for doing charitable works. Do you want to help someone out of pity or out of compassion? Do take note that compassion and pity are not the same and knowing their difference can make you a better philanthropist. You feel compassion when you identify with the situation of another person so you want to somehow relieve their pain or suffering. The urge to perform acts of kindness stems from the notion that the same misfortune can happen to you as well. On the other hand, pity is when you feel sorry for others because you deem them as less fortunate than you. To pity people while doing philanthropy can make others feel inferior or weak, emotions that are not helpful in the long run.

You treat it as a one-time thing.  

People who are truly serious about philanthropy understand that temporary solutions are rarely enough. You do not just donate a hefty amount of cash or spend a day in a welfare center. Instead, you invest time and resources to see that the cause you are supporting achieves its goals in the end. If everyone treats philanthropy as a one-time thing, their efforts will unlikely solve anything. 

You do it to fit in. 

Are you donating money or signing up for a cause because everybody at work or the circle you belong to is doing it? Maybe you are eager to participate in a charity event because it will score you some invites to a social event or allow you to mingle with wealthy people. Philanthropy is putting other people’s welfare before your own.Therefore, it is wrong to do it for selfish reasons. Doing it this way will keep you from experiencing the real rewards that come with doing something good. 

As a broad field that is open to many misconceptions, it is understandable if many would commit mistakes in an effort to engage in altruism. Even so, people who truly want to help do not allow mistakes to stop them. They understand that mistakes are meant to be corrected so they learn from it and take steps to avoid the same pitfalls. In the end, they become the genuine philanthropists this world so badly needs. 

Trevor and Lexi BakerFour Philanthropic Mistakes You May Be Guilty Of
Read More
3 Tips to Help You Choose a Philanthropy to Support

3 Tips to Help You Choose a Philanthropy to Support

Supporting philanthropies anyway you can is one of the most effective ways to give back to your community. However, with more and more ways to spread awareness using technology and the web for marketing campaigns, it’s never been more difficult to single out one philanthropy to support. Whether you are choosing to become involved in a specific philanthropy as a personal or business endeavor, there are certain things you should take into account before you decide on the one charity to devote your efforts and resources to.

Read our three tips to help you choose a philanthropy you should support.

Define your values

The first step to picking the right philanthropy to support is making sure its mission stands for something you believe in. Before you make a decision, be sure to identify your own values. Be honest with yourself and your beliefs, so that you are confident your efforts and charitable dollars are well spent. Knowing that the charity you are devoting time, money, and resources to reflects what you personally hold important makes all the difference. Do your research, so you pick a philanthropy whose mission mirrors your own.

Identify what your community needs

Educate yourself on the issues or causes that need support in your community. It could be anything from animal welfare or environmental issues to homelessness or education. Donating to a philanthropy is the perfect opportunity to make a real impact in the world you live in. So find out what your community needs, get involved, and be a part of something bigger than yourself by contributing to a philanthropy that needs the support.

Find out how the philanthropy uses donations

Look a little closer at each philanthropy you are considering to get involved with and be sure they are transparent about how they will specifically use your efforts. It’s important to be aware of how each philanthropy operates, so you can see tangible progress within your community. Make sure you know how your time, money, and resources will be used, so you are knowledgeable on the difference you are making in your community.

Picking the right philanthropy to support personally or in your business can be tricky because there are so many causes out there that need support. After you consider these three tips to help you choose a philanthropy, you should be well on your way to making impacts in your community.

Trevor and Lexi Baker3 Tips to Help You Choose a Philanthropy to Support
Read More
Top 3 Questions that Philanthropic Advocates Must Ask Themselves

Top 3 Questions that Philanthropic Advocates Must Ask Themselves

It is not enough to be good. It is not enough to wish the world were a better place. Miraculous and well-meaning as it is, it is not even enough to send your thoughts and prayers to people who need them. If you want to change the world, you have to actually do something; you have to be a philanthropic advocate—someone who speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves.

And, before you commit to doing anything, there are some 3 questions that philanthropic advocates must ask themselves.

Is This Philanthropic Work Sustainable?

Swooping in and fixing the way things are may seem like a noble act. You’ve built a school in a community that sorely needed access to education. You’ve just improved the lives of these people in this impoverished part of the world! Time to pat yourself on the back? Not even close.

How will the people of the village utilize the school? Who will stick around to make sure that it doesn’t get torn down or turned into something other than what you intended to build it for? In order to be helpful, philanthropy must first be sustainable. The good work you do must be able to carry on—even long after you’re gone. The next time you plan to embark on a philanthropic journey, make sure you plan out ways to make your work sustainable in the long run.

Is This Philanthropy Meaningful?

You can build a school in a rural village, but if ‘school’ doesn’t mean anything to the community, then all you’ve done is force meaningless ideas on a culture you don’t understand. For philanthropic advocacy to be as effective as possible, you must first listen to the voices of the disenfranchised.

What are their wants? What are their needs? What’s meaningful to them as a community? Discover the answers to those questions, and you’ll encounter the key to success as an advocate.

What Are My Intentions for This Advocacy?

As with anything else in life, if you don’t have the best of intentions behind your actions, you’re bound to fail at some point. Wanting to help others solely because it makes you look good or feel good will inevitably lead you to pursue the wrong kinds of philanthropy.

The best philanthropic acts aren’t the ones that loudly announce themselves. They’re not boastful or proud. They’re quiet, unassuming, and miraculously impactful.

When you have the best of intentions, you make the best of the world and its boundless opportunities.

Trevor and Lexi BakerTop 3 Questions that Philanthropic Advocates Must Ask Themselves
Read More