Adaptive Philanthropy

Philanthropy is more than the donation of funds, it’s a giving of self. Large or small, the act of caring for a group, cause, or community requires a great deal of the philanthropist. Determination and focus are the greatest tools when choosing where and how to direct your efforts. Though the task is difficult, the benefits are insurmountable. How can you put a value on changing a life? Where can you buy the satisfaction of helping those in need?

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Looking into your charity of choice is an absolute must, especially when you’re able to give more. Wealth can create a strange rift between donor and recipient, oftentimes leading to expectations where none are welcome. If an organization is attempting to illicit more money than a donor is willing to give, a major red flag is raised. Without proper research, your hard-earned and freely given charity could be utilized for less than reputable means. However, not all causes are fronts for darker dealings. With proper research, a donor can find the heart of an organization, and be sure their goals align.

Real change is made through tireless effort and ceaseless focus. If a donor wants to achieve this, treating philanthropic efforts as a business and less like a hobby is the only way to make it happen. Businesses have drive, goals and direction, something charitable efforts cannot function without. While causal giving is never wrong, a discerning philanthropist needs an ironclad grasp of their funds, and how they’re being allocated to various charitable organizations. Slipshod management of philanthropic efforts will cost time and money that could have been put to positive use.

If philanthropy is to be treated as a business, than its beneficiaries are the customers. Though motivations for selflessly giving vary from person to person, businesses often choose to engage in philanthropic pursuits for some level of positive return. Whether to enhance a public image or bring attention to their brand, by opening a forum for honest feedback and communication, a bridge between parties is established, providing a mutually beneficial middle-ground for discussion.

Adopt the process of adaptive philanthropy. Nothing is immune from the chaos of day-to-day life, and maintaining an outlook that recognizes this inevitability will keep your efforts from falling short of your goals. A clever philanthropist keeps his expectations realistic without overextending his capabilities. Nothing is served by crippling yourself in service of others. And if at all possible, ask for analytics on how your donations are being used. Ensuring the proper houses are receiving the necessary care is why philanthropists undergo such a emotionally powerful and costly venture. After so much legwork has already gone into choosing which charity deserves your efforts, it’d be silly to not continue following your investment.

Giving is so much more than allocating money for a cause. By committing such a selfless act, you silently agree to a promise of a better world. Change is never easy, oftentimes taking several like-minded individuals years of focused effort to affect. But by electing to become one of the few, a philanthropist, one more agent of change joins the fight for a better tomorrow.