Philanthropy is a pretty “big” word, and many people associate the word philanthropy with being rich. Philanthropists are those rich men and women who give money to the people who actually take the actions to make the projects work. If you don’t have money, you can’t be a philanthropist.
CNBC recently posted an article that backs up this belief (you can read it here: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/08/charting-philanthropys-new-age-of-exploration.html). The article talks about three methods philanthropists are utilizing: venture philanthropy, impact measurement and evaluation, and socially responsible investing. What do these mean?
- Venture Philanthropy uses venture capital funding tools to promote the start-up and growth of non-profits and social ventures. It provides non-profits with the much-needed funds for operations and to generate growth until the non-profit can become financially sustainable.
- Impact Measurement and Evaluation Philanthropy focuses on measuring the real results of charitable efforts, results that are difficult to measure without the proper funding. It allows non-profits to identify and measure real results instead of focusing only on the easiest measurements they can gather due to limited funding.
- Socially Responsible Investing Philanthropy involves philanthropists making investments with the intention of generating social and/or environmental returns for society while also making financial returns for the investor.
All three of these philanthropic methods are much needed and appreciated, but they all sound unattainable for most people, and bring the focus of philanthropy back to the requirement of having money.
But, philanthropy isn’t just for the rich, and it doesn’t have a “lots of money” requirement. In fact, if you look at the definition of philanthropy it never even mentions money. Philanthropy is:
The ‘love of humanity’ in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing ‘what it is to be human’ on both the benefactors’ (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries (by benefiting) parts.
Nowhere in this definition (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy) does the definition mention needing money.
You may not be able to provide venture philanthropy, impact measurement and evaluation help, or socially responsible investing as the philanthropists do in the CNBC article, but you can provide your own philanthropic support that works with each of these larger types of philanthropy:
- Donation Philanthropy uses whatever funds you can afford to offer to the start-up, growth, and maintenance of non-profits and social ventures. What ever amount of money you can afford to share helps support the Venture Philanthropist’s funding one dollar at a time.
- Volunteer Philanthropy focuses on helping create real results with your charitable efforts, results that occur because of the direct actions you take to help the cause. It allows non-profits to actually create the results that are then measured my the Impact Measurement and Evaluation Philanthropist.
- Social Philanthropy uses your personal methods of communication (telephone, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, community groups, etc) to spread the vision of the non-profit and share the message that the non-profit needs support. Your investment of time works side-by-side with the Socially Responsible Investing Philanthropist generating social and environmental returns for society through your communications.
Both big money and small (or no) money philanthropic efforts are needed for a non-profit to succeed in their mission and bring their vision to life. The best part is:
You get to choose what YOUR philanthropy looks like.
- If you would like to be a Donation Philanthropist you can do so on this page: http://indranislight.org/support-us/donate-now/
- If you would like to be a Volunteer Philanthropist sign up and take the free Live a Brighter Life Program http://indranislight.org/engage/intro-course/
- If you would like to be a Social Philanthropist visit the ILF Facebook page and “Like” our page, share our blog posts, and help us spread the word. https://www.facebook.com/indranislight/
We thank you for whatever form of philanthropy you choose to add into your life, whether it is with Indrani’s Light Foundation or a non-profit of your choice. We all need your support.