Do You Have a Philanthropic Heart?
When I was 11 years old, I played little league baseball and was a boy scout. I was also involved with Moose Lodge activities and other nonprofit organizations. In each of these cases, there were fundraising activities and events I was involved with in a variety of ways. I wanted to generate time, talent and treasure at an early age and had a philanthropic heart. I wonder if others are born with a philanthropic heart or do they acquire a desire to help others through life experiences?
In the Presidential Recognition That Engages Blog titled, “A Philanthropic Heart,” says that some people are born with a philanthropic heart. They naturally just want to share what they have, no matter how little they own. They have an innate sense of giving back to help others. Besides being born with caring features, others learn to give back through witnessing examples of giving while growing up. Parent and grandparent examples of giving always come to mind. Their doors were always open for others in need. Through giving, the author believes others experience a sense of total well-being.
In the article “Learning to Give,” Philanthropy is shown to be a critical part of a democratic society. Philanthropy focuses on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems. It supports projects and endeavors from which we derive benefit. Philanthropy can be broadly defined as love for humankind. It is derived from the Greek words “Philos,” which means loving, and “Anthropos,” which means humankind. A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist.
Classy notes that the philanthropic tradition in America began because Puritans were looking for a way to remedy wealth and to guarantee utmost religious piety. In a sense, then, donating was supposed to balance investment. Secular traditions of philanthropy also developed through Benjamin Franklin, among others, and we arrived at the many variations of philanthropy through the work of millions of nonprofit organizations today.
In his New York Times article, “Two Paths for Charitable Giving: From the Head or From the Heart,” Paul Sullivan immediately notes that his beloved dog Lucy’s death and the role Lucy played in his life made him more charitable over time. He noted that a debate in giving is seeking to answer the following question:
Is it better to give in response to an emotional need or feeling, or are dollars better spent when tied to a metric that measures how effective they are? Dera Treyz, global head of the Philanthropy Center at J. P. Morgan Bank, says she coaches clients to focus on something they care about—that’s the heart part—and then gain expertise in the field to be able to make more intelligent giving decisions.
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, in her Stanford Business article, notes that she avoids telling people exactly where they should focus their charitable efforts; instead she teaches them how to figure that out for themselves. Her role is to empower people to make the best decisions they can. It is every philanthropist’s responsibility to make sure that the investment they make to an organization is actually creating measurable impact.
The impact should go from transactional to transformational. It is about evolving your giving from being reactive to proactive, sympathetic to strategic, and isolated to collaborative. The best philanthropy happens when your individual beliefs, values and passions are married to core public needs. It is not about what you give but how you give.
Whether you grow up with a giving heart or create this heart over time, philanthropy needs you. Our world needs countless individuals that care more about others and not themselves. We need to pass on a feeling a love and compassion to others at every age level in such a way that an emotional investment is made to organizations that is positive.
Do you have a philanthropic heart? Do you contribute time, talent and treasure to a variety of organizations? Do you encourage others you meet to join the growing group of supporters? I hope you have a philanthropic heart and if not, plan to generate one over time. Society needs your engagement to the betterment of mankind. There will always be a tremendous need for assistance that benefits others.
It starts with promotion of the concept of philanthropy in your heart, your brain and your soul. Then, spread the word and multiply your philanthropic impact!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.