Philanthropy: The Power to Influence Your Life and Business
Each of us has the power to change someone’s circumstance, status or situation. We have the power to influence how we view life and the world around us. One way we can do this is to become a philanthropist. This BIG word with a powerful impact can change the world as we know it as business owners.
Philanthropy derives from showing human concern or advancement of others by donating money, property or work to those in need. A philanthropist works to increase the well-being of humankind by charitable aid or donations. As an award-winning philanthropist, I did not set out to become a philanthropist. In fact, when I was in high school and someone asked me to volunteer, I replied, “What? You want me to work for free?” However, my desire to expose my daughters to cultural and community programs lead me into the world of philanthropy as a volunteer.
Influence Your Business. When you volunteer in your community, you have the opportunity to discover who lives in your community and how you may contribute. In addition, when you serve on committees and boards, you discover how your community, church, or school utilize business services. This knowledge helps you leverage your power of influence. I began volunteering almost 30 years ago. I joined the Parent Teacher Association and volunteered for the fundraising committee at my oldest daughter’s school when she was in kindergarten. It was a predominately white school. I wanted to make sure all students were served. At the time, I was a professional fundraising consultant, helping schools raise money for much needed supplies and equipment. After one year on the board, I led the fundraising committee and convinced the board to use the company I represented to help the PTA purchase much needed equipment. The PTA raised more money than they ever had in the past and that influenced my sales.
Influence Your Life. Another way volunteering benefits you and your community is through connections. When I served on my homeowners association board for over 4 years, I discovered the dues collected from homeowners was used to pay lawyers, other homeowner associations, management companies and other service companies. The board made recommendations and voted on companies to provide services to our homeowners association. I eventually realized several companies we were using were connected to some of the board members. For instance, that company that managed the pool service contract charged us over $1,000.00 a month back in the early 1990’s. The company being paid through the company being paid through the management company was owned by one of the board members’ husband. Her philanthropic endeavor ultimately influenced her finances.
As a philanthropist, you should always give without expecting anything in return. However, as the old saying goes, “Luck is being in the right place, at the right time.” The good book also reminds us, “Give, without expecting anything in return. Most philanthropic endeavors are based on supporting a cause or showing human concern about what you are passionate about. Usually, it is your passion that puts a voice to your gifts. If someone hears you sharing it, more doors may open up for you and your business. However it happens, philanthropy can influence your life and business.