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Engaging in philanthropic works can be one of the most rewarding decisions an individual makes. Indeed, while focus and intent is about the beneficiaries, donors may be pleasantly surprised to experience the many benefits of giving too.
There are numerous reasons individuals begin their philanthropic journey, be it a personal experience of poverty and hardship; a desire to help a wider community; or a sense of duty and obligation that comes with wealth.
From providing an individual with a sense of purpose to helping instill a greater sense of empathy and values within one’s family, engaging in philanthropy can open doors that would otherwise remain closed while also having a positive impact on the local and wider community.
Defining the journey
Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management suggests a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure your philanthropy can take you where you want to go:
— Why do you want to give?
— When do you want to give?
— Where do you want to give?
— What do you want to give?
— Who do you want to give with (or alongside) you?
— How do you want to give?
— Do you want to know how successful you are in your giving?
The world of philanthropy can be daunting for even the most astute businessperson, and these questions are a great way to break down your goal into manageable chunks.
Are you private or public?
One of the hardest initial decisions is whether you want to publicize your giving or keep it private and personal. This is a question that has no right answer, it completely depends on the situation and the wishes of the individual.
Making your philanthropy public can allow your good deeds to be recognized, lends you credibility and can also inspire others to give money and time, increasing your overall impact.
On the contrary, giving anonymously may suit your beliefs if you prefer to keep a low profile, want to avoid public scrutiny or think that remaining anonymous would be better for the cause itself.
Throughout the journey, in order to gauge impact, ask yourself: How is your giving consistent with your values, beliefs, and passions? How is your giving achieving the positive change you are seeking? How are you using your resources efficiently and effectively?
Where philanthropy can take your family and friends
Some people view philanthropy as a very private and personal process, choosing to make all the decisions with regard to giving themselves. However, many individuals find great benefits in involving friends and family. Aside from lessening the workload, working together on an issue or project can strengthen relationships and bonds between generations.
There are several different ways this can work. The first, and likely the simplest is to encourage family members to become involved in the philanthropy you are already doing. Be it discussions with younger children, explaining what you are doing and why it is important, or older children taking a more active role in decision making.
A second, and perhaps more complex approach, would be having a discussion with family and friends about what issues resonate with them. You could let them take the lead, and financially support their own passion project. This can be a deeply rewarding process for young adults, encouraging a sense of freedom and trust, while also having an outward positive impact.
The benefits philanthropy can have on a family are extensive, and many find it a fulfilling experience unlike any other shared endeavor. While helping others, you are also instilling positive values and life lessons in the younger generation, in addition to education with regard to basic business practice and how the world works.
Where philanthropy can take your business and colleagues
Many corporate enterprises are actively engaged in philanthropic works. It is easy to see why — aside from the incredible impact it can have on the local community — for a business owner there are several benefits linked to philanthropy and encouraging employees to take part.
The first and arguably the largest is the huge boost philanthropy can have on the sense of community in your workplace. From picking up litter, cleaning a local green space or raising money for a good cause, working together on a specific positive goal can bring your team closer together. This sense of community can improve employee engagement and with that, productivity.
Aside from employee relations and improving the local community, philanthropy also gives businesses a substantial PR boost. Having a positive impact on an area or cause can deeply improve brand awareness and bring with it some positive publicity. This will further improve relations with employees, customers, investors and clients who want to be involved with a business that is committed to making a difference.
Finally, beneficial tax deductions often accompany charitable donations and philanthropic activities. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that allowing employees to become involved in philanthropy will deepen their sense of fulfilment, while improving the local area in which a business resides.
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