Do you want to be an effective philanthropist? Do you follow your head or your heart?
In order to be an effective philanthropist, you must implement a strategy that integrates the head and the heart. The best philanthropy happens when your values and beliefs are aligned with a core need in the community or in the world at large. When this happens, you give with joy, purpose, and intent. You not only meet a community need, but you find yourself immensely gratified in the process.
In order to merge the head and the heart, you start with what’s inside your heart.
Ask yourself the following questions,
- What matters to you?
- What do you care about?
- What problem do you want to solve?
- What issues are part of your reality?
Having an authentic connection to an issue makes it more likely that your experience as a philanthropist is a genuine and rewarding.
Once you are clear on your values, then you move into your head.
- Study the issue and expand your knowledge base.
- What are some approaches to address the issue?
- What organizations are addressing the issue?
Thoughtful giving requires clarity, planning, and strategy – with near-term and long term goals. Sometimes philanthropy begins with trial and error. Rather than sit on the sidelines and waiting until you find the “perfect solution”, you begin to understand what efforts are making positive change happen. Invest in those efforts by organizations that are on the front line of the issue. Identify ways that you can contribute, where it will make the most difference. Get involved. Visit. Volunteer. Serve where you can. And stay informed. Stay flexible. Use your heart and your head.