Did you buy a bottle of water this week? We’re not judging, but if you did, you’re among some of the luckiest people in the world who have the discretionary wealth to buy something that you already have access to for free! This also means that you have enough wealth to become a philanthropist.
When we think of philanthropy, we often think of the ultra-wealthy. The billionaires of the world like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mackenzie Scott, for example. But you don’t have to be listed in Forbes Magazine to engage in philanthropic activities.
In the 5th century, the term philanthropy was coined by a Greek playright and was defined as the ‘love of humanity’. Today, in the Oxford Dictionary, philanthropy is defined as ‘the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes’. However, philanthropy is not just limited to the giving of money, it can be giving of your time, your talent, or your treasure, too.
Activities such as mentoring, planting trees or serving in a soup kitchen are examples of donating your time. It’s vital to a charity’s ability to do important work. The giving of your talent, which refers to donating your expertise and skills to provide pro bono support, are also important. Treasure is the giving of monetary donations or a donation of goods, which is the lifeblood of many charities.
Ultimately, being a philanthropist is not about how much money you have, but about the generous behaviours you show, regardless of your resources. Philanthropy takes many forms and is accessible to all. Just a few dollars (the cost of a bottle of water) is considered philanthropy when donated to a charitable cause and is enough to make a deep and lasting impact for many organisations and communities.
Philanthropy is powerful. It can positively influence lives, culture, society and our world. Some even consider philanthropy to be one of the cornerstones of a stable society.
Charities rely on philanthropy to provide support to people in the community, to protect our environment or to save our animals. Hospitals and universities also rely on philanthropy to fund research, improve facilities, and award scholarships.
If you’re still not convinced philanthropy is an activity you should get involved in, here are some seriously good reasons:
Putting others first and giving back to your community is empowering, fulfilling and creates a greater sense of purpose. It’s even proven that generosity reduces stress and improves mental health.
Philanthropy brings people in the community together to support a common cause, creating a more equitable society for all.
Like many other networks, philanthropy provides an opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals or businesses to grow your existing network.
Philanthropy is good for brand, culture, and talent acquisition. Clients, consumers and prospective employees care about what businesses are doing to positively impact the world around them. Philanthropy is the perfect vehicle for businesses to live their values.
When you engage in philanthropy you naturally learn more about the world around you, about different people, causes and communities.
By involving your family in philanthropy, you are instilling strong values in your children such as generosity, kindness, and compassion for those who are less fortunate. This also creates a greater sense of appreciation and gratitude for the things they have.
Becoming a philanthropist is easy. You may already be one without even knowing it. Simply by volunteering your time, or donating to a worthy cause, you’re engaging in philanthropy. Or if you work at a company like BlueRock, where you can salary sacrifice a donation into a foundation, you are taking part in philanthropy just by showing up to work each day.
Then there are more formal ways to engage in philanthropy, such as setting up a Charitable Fund Account or implementing a corporate giving strategy within your business.
Get in touch with the Be BlueRock Foundation to discuss how you, your family or your business can implement a philanthropic structure or giving strategy.