Giving to others and being of help to another was always something that came naturally to me. My earliest memory of philanthropy was as a child and I was walking with my mom in the park feeding the ducks with my bag of bread crumbs I had prepared for them. This experience helped to plant the seed of giving to others in need within me.
I was always the child in school with a UNICEF box collecting donations for children during the holiday times. Even as a teen, my Facebook page was saturated with posts from the Causes App where I was promoting the charitable causes that my friends where involved in.
During my junior year of college this seed for philanthropy within me really grew. It was in my public relations class when I worked alongside my professor creating fundraising materials for the University research center and Fall Research Scholarship.
Just last summer, I was asked to be the State Director for a wonderful eco-friendly clothing company and their campaign called, ‘Uniform’. The campaign involved raising money for children in Liberia who cannot afford the required uniforms needed to attend school since they are dealing with the aftermath of the Ebola crisis.
These experiences from a small child to now have really done a lot to change my perspective about what it means to really make a difference in the world.
I receive many emails from those interested in starting their own journey in helping others after learning about my previous work. So I’ve written a few tips that I’ve learned during my journey so far as a philanthropist. I hope that these tips will inspire you and encourage you in your own philanthropic efforts!
Tips for being an effective Philanthropist:
Give of Your Time I think it’s easy to believe that just writing a check for a cause or charity is enough. Yes, it does help. But it’s so much better to really share your time and talents in addition to giving funds. It always impresses me when someone gives of their time and applies their passion for a cause they are working with.
For instance, if you have a certain talent like playing an instrument or singing, you can easily utilize this by playing music to hospital patients in need of some holiday cheers.
Find causes you’re passionate about It’s always a better fit if you find a cause that really aligns with your interests. My interests center mainly around children and education. I have a real soft spot for seeing that children are taken care of. As a minority I’ve found that education is essential and I always try to encourage this same standard for children. Since these interests are so important to me, I try to find causes that share these same interests of mine.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin This was a mistake that I made when I was younger. I had the dream that I wanted to save the world and I became involved in too many causes. I wasn’t able to apply my talents and time to all of them. Now I try to stick with one cause or philanthropy effort at a time so that the cause I’ve chosen has all of my attention.
Get Your Friends Involved Philanthropy is about giving your love to others and what better way to do this than to be surrounded by people you love. It’s also a better way to spread awareness of the cause’s mission and goals so other people can join the cause also.
Utilize Social Media One way I’ve found to get my friends involved in a cause is to use social media. Social Media promotes transparency and allows you to post updates about the progress of the campaign, photos of charity events, success stories, etc so donors can see how they are making a difference.
When I was a State Director for the Uniform campaign, I used my social media sites to tell my friends about the cause I was involved in. As a result, my friends were so excited about the campaign that they shared the campaign with their friends and the campaign raised a total of $230,059 for Liberian children (one of the most top funded fashion campaigns on Kickstarter!)