- goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially
- active effort to promote human welfare
- an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes
- an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes
Is the value of a charitable act based on giving a certain percentage of total income? And then is that pre-tax or post-tax? Is it based on amount of sacrifice it caused the giver? Is its value determined by the number of people who benefit from it? No. I believe that the value of a charitable act is measured only by the motivation that inspired it.
I would assert to you that if I made a donation of $10,000, it would cause the same philanthropic ripple as Mark Zuckerburg's 2013 donation of $1,000,000,000 (1 billion) if both came from the same place of goodwill and desire for change. Yes, his billion may stretch farther than my ten thousand, and his billion would surely get noticed by more people than my ten thousand would. But, if both come from a heart that sees a need and desires to offer the opportunity for change, the ripple effects of both philanthropic acts would never end. Ever.
But, let's say a third donor comes somewhere between Mark and Me, but his efforts stem from the advice of his accountant. He donates to achieve a tax write-off or to look better to his friends. I would then suggest that his donation may meet a need, but the ripple effect would stop right there. It would affect no lasting change because it wasn't motivated from a sense of compassion. It was actually greed, in that case, that fueled the act. That is the opposite of philanthropy.
Mother Theresa had no money to give. But she is quoted as saying, "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten about by everyone...I think that's a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
That is the perfect example of true philanthropy. Giving because there's a need. Giving from what you've been given. Giving because you can.
It is when people give out of purpose with no expectations of reciprocation that the true essence of philanthropy lives. At the end of the day people don't want to know what you do, they care about WHY you do.
New to the giving game? It's okay to start small. Find something that speaks to your heart--I'd be happy to help you narrow down your options if you leave a comment here--and jump in as you're able. The joy that comes from giving to others is infectious.
Here are a couple of ideas that are near to my heart personally. They are small in size but yet creating a large ripple in the world to help others.
Taylor's Gift ( taylorsgift.org ), They are truly making a difference when it comes to organ donation, something very near to my heart (or should I say near to my kidney).
Ally's Wish ( allyswish.org ), This organization was founded to grant wishes to moms suffering from terminal illness.
The key is to find your "why" and get engaged. It is inside you to be a Difference Maker...let it out!