How to Get Started With Philanthropy (and Why You Should)

When you started your business, you may have had a goal to make a specific amount of money or help the company grow to a specific size. But now that you’re in full swing and on track to achieve your goals, it’s time to think about other efforts and initiatives you can plan. One option is to get involved with philanthropy.

But what exactly is philanthropy, why should you pursue it, and how can you get started?

What is Philanthropy?

Philanthropic organizations and initiatives come in a variety of flavors. At its core, philanthropy is just doing something good for humanity. Usually, practicing philanthropy means donating from one or more of the following categories:

  • Time

You can volunteer your time to a specific cause, join a board of a charitable organization to make decisions, or just put in the effort. You could volunteer for cleaning a public place, mentoring children in need, or any other positive contribution.

  • Money

If you don’t have much time to spare, but you are making good money, consider donating money to a good cause. You can provide money to an organization you trust, or if you have enough wealth, you can start your own organization.

  • Resources

You can also practice philanthropy by contributing more resources. For example, you can provide your business’s services to an organization in need or work together with your partners to provide guidance to new nonprofit organizations.

The Benefits of Philanthropy

Why should you pursue philanthropy?

  • Direct impact

The most obvious benefit of philanthropy is that it positively impacts a specific group of people. You might be providing better academic resources and new opportunities to children who need them. You might be beautifying a public area that an entire neighborhood appreciates. Or you might be changing someone’s life directly, permanently, and for the better. Philanthropy is doing good for the world.

  • Personal fulfillment

Of course, if you’re not motivated by pure altruism, philanthropy offers more personal benefits. Most people feel good when they donate their time or money to a good cause. They feel better about themselves, they feel more confident, and they tend to be happier. Practicing philanthropy is excellent for your mental health.

  •  Networking

Volunteering is an excellent way to meet new people and expand your professional network as well. Charitable organizations tend to attract people who are successful, outgoing, and caring about their community; accordingly, worthy causes tend to be great places to meet new and interesting individuals. If you’re looking for a new business partner, or if you just want to expand your connections with resources, this could be exactly what you need.

  • Marketing and recruiting

If you get your entire business to practice philanthropy, your philanthropic efforts could be excellent for marketing and recruiting. People love to see when brands give back to their communities and do good for the world; don’t be afraid to show off your volunteer efforts to boost your reputation this way.

  • Employee morale

Similarly, when the organization encourages employees to volunteer, and when it donates money or resources directly, it makes employees feel good. Employees will feel like they’re working for an altruistic, positive force in the world, and morale will increase. Also, employees will be more likely to stay with your business indefinitely and productivity may increase as well.

  • The contagious nature of philanthropy

Giving is contagious. Studies show that when you see someone donate time or money to a worthy cause, you’re more likely to donate your own time or money in the future. Your simple act of altruism may inspire acts of altruism in others, resulting in a feedback loop of positive contribution.

Getting Started

How do you get started with philanthropy?

  • Choose a cause

Before you do anything else, choose a cause that matters to you. Your altruism will be much more effective if you’re genuinely passionate about the cause. Think about issues that have personally affected you or loved ones in the past, or think about issues impacting your local community.

  • Look for an existing organization

Once you have a cause in mind, start researching existing philanthropic organizations that try to address that cause. You may be able to contribute to the organization directly, or you may simply get inspiration for starting your own organization to support the cause.

  • Start contributing

As soon as possible, start contributing to your cause of choice. Depending on your current circumstances, that could mean donating money to the nonprofit organization you found, donating time to local efforts, or starting to establish your own resources to address the issue.

  • Develop a long-term plan

Finally, put together a long-term plan. Are you going to contribute on an annual basis? Are you planning to start your own organization for this cause? What happens next?

Final Thoughts

Philanthropy isn’t a requirement. So, if you don’t currently have the time or the money to donate, don’t feel bad. But when you do get to a good position in your career or business development, consider giving back to your community this way.