Philanthropy: 5 Ways You Can Make A Difference Today

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.” ~ Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” ~ Mother Teresa

The definition of philanthropy is “the effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations.” In fact, the origin of the word actually means “loving mankind” (from phil- “loving” + anthropos “mankind”). In today’s society, we hear a lot about corporate philanthropy or celebrity philanthropy (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt),which makes many of us think that philanthropy is only for those who have a lot of money to give. Many of us don’t realize that there are little things that we can all do everyday to make a difference in our local or global community.

Recently, I picked up the book ‘How To Be An Everyday Philanthropist’ by Nicole Bouchard Boles, which focuses on ideas for how people can contribute to their community and world no matter what their income. The following five ideas, along with many others, are touched on in Ms. Bouchard Boles book.

5 Ways You Can Make a Difference Today:

  1. Give your time by serving lunches or dinners to the homeless or less fortunate, read with a child or senior citizen, or become a member of a nonprofit board.
  2. Use your body to run, walk, bike, or climb for a cause. There are many events or activities that keep us active and raise money and awareness for a great cause. Some examples are Run For The Cure, The Weekend To End Breast Cancer, and The Ride to Conquer Cancer.
  3. Use your talents such as knitting a blanket for a newborn baby or using your carpentry skills to help build a house. Whatever your talent is – singing, scrap-booking, even shopping – there’s always a way to put it to good use to help another human being.
  4. Donate your belongings to a local charity. If you have clothes, books, toys, etc in good condition, donate them to such charities as the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Canadian Diabetes Association, or Women In Need.
  5. Donate your money through charitable giving, disaster relief, stock or bond donations, or outlining in your will a donation of a piece of your estate to the charity of your choice.

Find a cause that is meaningful to you and research all the different ways that you can contribute. Even if you don’t have all the time or money in the world, there is always some way that you can give back.

If you are interested in reading more about this, here is a quick list of resources that I recommend to get you started:

  • ‘How To Be An Everyday Philanthropist’ by Nicole Bouchard Boles
  • ‘Philanthrocapitalism’ by Matthew Bishop
  • ‘Social Entrepreneurship For Dummies’ by Mark Durieux and Robert Stebbins
  • ‘Small Change: Why Business Won’t Save the World’ by Michael Edwards

If you know of any other books, websites, or information on philanthropic giving / living, please share them through your comments to this post.

All it takes is one step or one hour of effort to make a huge difference in people’s lives.

“Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use” ~ Gamaliel Bailey

“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” ~ Albert Einstein

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