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.