Using your own personal finances to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate can be a wonderful decision to make. Of course, philanthropy is not always such an easy journey. In order for you to see the most success with your charitable efforts and investments, you need to make sure you know how to properly go about the process. Many philanthropists run into common problems while going about their business. Above all, they struggle to make meaningful decisions with their philanthropic endeavors.
Thankfully, there are many simple ways to find meaning in your philanthropy. Look over these tips and see how you can make a difference and feel good about the decisions you have made along the way.
What Do You Enjoy?
Simply throwing money at an organization is a decent way to help those in need, but it might not provide you with the sense of satisfaction you desire. This is why it is important for you to discover charitable options that align with your own personal tastes or views. Philanthropists are said to see a higher success rate in regards to personal happiness when they are involved with endeavors that connect them to their own passions. When you care about the cause or the people involved in the work, then you are going to have a better experience overall.
A great way to get examples of this is by looking at successful philanthropists. Pam Baer, for example, has been involved with a number of charitable organizations over the years. Some of these groups hit close to home. Baer’s husband, Larry Baer, is the Chief Executive Officer for the San Francisco Giants. Pam became a chair for the San Francisco Giants Community Fund Board because of her husband’s connection. This allowed her to take part in a charity that her family had a personal stake in, allowing it to add more meaning to the decision.
Another way to discover meaning in your philanthropy is by learning how to be more adaptive with your planning. Many philanthropists have very rigid approaches to solving problems and taking advantage of new opportunities. This is largely because people don’t want to throw money away and will approach charitable efforts in the same calculated, methodical way that is necessary in the business world. Though it can prove useful at times, this way of thinking can also prevent an endeavor from truly taking off.
The more rigid you are in your approach to your philanthropy, the easier it will become for you to feel like it is a chore. These endeavors are meant to bring you a sense of satisfaction as you use your funds to help those who are less fortunate than yourself. When this comes across as a taxing experience, you might feel less inclined to continue. Learn to be a bit looser and more adaptive with your approach and you might discover that there are more exciting and engaging tactics worth your exploration.
Explore Your Impact
Finally, a great way to find meaning in your philanthropic endeavors is by taking time to see how your contributions have made positive changes. Look at data related to the outcome of your investments or find a more tangible way of seeing the results of your labor. When you actually can see how your contributions have improved the lives of others, it can add all the meaning you need to the situation. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing you put time and effort into a cause and it produced better results than you had anticipated.
You may also want to implement program monitoring for some of the organizations you work with. This allows the groups the chance to better monitor their progress through various programs and web applications. Using these programs can provide concrete data that the organization can go off of in order to make improvements in the future. This helps the organization excel and it helps you to get a good idea of how your money is being used to make a difference.
Finally, remember that honesty is the best policy. When you are open and truthful with the organizations you are working with, it can foster better relationships. Maybe you are only exploring philanthropy because you need to have a better public image. This is a common reason for being charitable, and it is best to be upfront about this right away. The organizations will still be happy for your contributions and you won’t need to lie about your initial motives for the move. Over time, you may also find your motives shift to become more altruistic.
There are many different ways to add meaning to your philanthropy. When you take the time to listen to experts and learn about how your money is being used with specific organizations, it can totally change the way you feel about your endeavors.