Philanthropy is an essential part of our culture and society. Through philanthropy, we can effectively change the world around us for the better. We can also significantly improve our mental wellbeing and confidence. However, if you are new to charitable giving, you may find yourself overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Here are some tips and steps you can follow as you begin your journey into philanthropy.
- Set goals
Before you start giving your time or money to a charitable organization, it’s important to set goals. What are you hoping to accomplish through your philanthropy? There are many causes that are worthy of your attention, so ask yourself which ones mean the most to you. What do you feel the most passionate about? Use your personal value system to guide toward causes to support.
- Do your research
The next step is to research organizations in your area of interest. Fortunately, this step has been simplified for use by sites such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator. These websites are excellent resources to use as you decide what nonprofits are most worthy of your time or money. For example, these sites allow you to see how efficiently different organizations operate, how financially accountable they are, and exactly what problems they aim to solve.
- Create a plan
After finding a cause and an organization to give to, the next step is to create a plan of action. Will you give money, or will you donate your time? If you plan to give monetarily, decide how much and how often you will give. Many organizations offer monthly giving plans that can be automatically deducted from your bank account. Whether you choose a one-time donation or a recurring gift, be sure to keep track of all your giving throughout the year to simplify your life come tax time.
- Monitor effectiveness
Once you are on track and have begun donating your time or money to an organization, make sure that you monitor its effectiveness. For example, you could follow the nonprofit on social media to stay up to date on how your donations are being used. You can expect to receive mail or email newsletters with information. Take the time to read newsletters and updates, so you can ensure that your philanthropic efforts are meaningful and beneficial. If at any point you find yourself giving to an organization that doesn’t align with your values or goals, it’s time to reconsider your options.
There are many different approaches to philanthropy, but don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Follow this step-by-step process, and you will be well on your way to becoming an effective philanthropist.