You probably don’t need to be convinced of the merits of philanthropy. If you know anything about it at all, you’ll already understand what an enormous amount of good can come from assisting humankind in this way. While charity involves alleviating the challenges people face due to social problems, philanthropy’s purpose is to remove those difficulties in the first place.
The history of philanthropic behavior is a long one. The origins of the word are from the Greek language and it essentially means love for humanity. For thousands of years and across numerous civilizations this altruistic practice has grown and thrived, often being woven into religious teachings.
It should be remembered that philanthropy isn’t always about providing monetary donations. This form of giving includes one’s time, influence, and other types of contributions. Following are seven of the reasons that philanthropy works.
1. It creates opportunities.
There are a great number of worthwhile endeavors that are struggling due to lack of funding. You don’t have to look far to find many worthy projects that could benefit from a wealthy benefactor. Having access to much-needed funds is essential for social programs to grow and expand.
Government grants and forgivable loans are available for a range of services and supports across the United States. There are also foundations focused on specific community causes and larger problems that plague a population. More money is always welcomed for the arts, education, and other initiatives to expand the reach of their budgets.
In addition, there are organizations that are cash strapped because the enterprise they’re leading or the difference they’re trying to make isn’t a popular one. This is where a philanthropic donation can unleash opportunities.
2. It facilitates a sense of community.
Philanthropy grows community, plain and simple. When neighborhood organizations receive a financial shot in the arm, or another type of philanthropic gift, positive things happen for people. It’s quite amazing what a small group of committed individuals can do to improve the local environment for themselves and their neighbors when they receive the resources they need.
Philanthropy can really energize community members. They feel supported and encouraged when they have an influential person, or foundation, in their corner. When people come together to work on a neighborhood beautification project or to build a new playground, their pride in their surroundings soars and they have a real sense of belonging. Community ties are strengthened.
3. It encourages others to give.
Another wonderful outcome of philanthropy is that it has a contagious effect. Individuals become inspired when they see others giving of their time and finances. Influencers with financial or other means to make a difference notice when another high-profile person publicly gets behind a particular cause.
Of course, the accolades a contemporary receives could be one motivating factor. Aside from this, those with a genuine desire to help others will often seek out a similar opportunity to do good.
4. It facilitates networking.
Success in any endeavor is strengthened by networking. You don’t have to be the CEO of a company, or someone looking to advance in your career, to benefit from expanding your network of contacts. Philanthropy introduces you to like-minded people.
You can learn a lot from these connections, whether collaborating on an initiative or sharing experiences. This activity can enhance your personal and/or work life immensely. Personal growth is a byproduct of engaging with others in philanthropic efforts.
5. It improves mental health.
When you’re actively engaged in philanthropy, it can give your mental health a boost. Everyone has hardships from time to time. We can feel really challenged and overwhelmed with the adversity we’re dealing with.
There’s nothing better to take us out of our life situation for a while than showing some generosity to others. Volunteering one’s time, for example, can reduce feelings of loneliness while focusing on other people can help mitigate our own stress.
6. It may improve physical health.
Stress can cause physical symptoms as well as emotional ones. High blood pressure, headaches, sleep disturbances and other health issues can play havoc with our health. In addition, if stress isn’t addressed, it can actually weaken your immune system and lead to further health complications.
What better reason to participate in philanthropy than to alleviate stress and avoid losing one’s health? It may surprise you to know that research has linked living longer with helping others.
7. It broadens your horizons.
Hand in hand with expanding your networks, philanthropy broadens your worldview. As you research what interests you might want to support, of necessity, you educate yourself about them and gain a better understanding of the life experiences of others.
Your commitment as a philanthropist takes you on a journey of discovery, increasing your empathy and instilling a drive within you to do your utmost for your chosen cause.
Yes, there are a host of reasons why philanthropy continues to be an extremely effective and impactful endeavor.