Making Philanthropy Part Of Company Culture

Charitable giving is not just the realm of wealthy individuals and global corporations. No matter what size business you can benefit from instilling philanthropic giving as part of your company culture. Not only will you be helping out the community your business serves but you will also be giving your employees a sense of contribution and self-satisfaction.

By following a few simple strategies you can have a culture of giving in your business in no time.

Volunteer Together

Plan quarterly or monthly volunteering events for your team. By getting out in a group you not only foster a sense of community within your company but you also make your brand more visible to the community at large.

Get suggestions from your staff as to which charities or events they would like to participate and plan to attend as many events as possible.

Participate In Community Projects

Many of your employees will have pet projects or charities that they are passionate about in the local community. This will give you company exposure as well as shedding a light on needs and concerns of your community.

These events can be food drives, 5K runs, bike rides or local festivals. Keep an eye out for events that are happening around you and see if there are ways your business can help.

Donate Your Time Or Expertise

You do not have to just donate money to charities. You can donate your time or professional expertise. If you are a consultant, you might consider holding classes for adults getting back into the job market. Or donate some of your company’s products to local charities in need.

Get your employees involved by giving them paid time off to go volunteer at local charities or events.

Get Input From Employees

Solicit philanthropic ideas from your employees. Do not just dictate what charities your employees will participate in. Many of them will have charities that they are actively supporting. They may have fundraisers at their children’s school or after school programs. By giving your employees a say in which charities get your time and money they will be more likely to participate.

Set The Example

Giving will quickly become part of your company culture when your team sees you taking an active part philanthropic activities. They will be more likely to emulate your actions rather than just follow your orders.

Being seen as a company who gives back and cares about the community will help set you apart from the competition. But it will also give your employees a sense of purpose and community.

How to Help Best During a Natural Disaster

There are many different ways you can make a difference when you’re interested in helping out during a natural disaster, many of which don’t require you to give money to help those affected. Not only will you be helping others, but you’ll also be helping yourself. Studies show that those who volunteer are happier than those who don’t volunteer. In this article, we will explain a variety of ways that you can help during a natural disaster.

Volunteer Your Time

When you have a little extra time you might consider donating your time rather than donating money. There are many reputable charitable organizations you can volunteer for. One website that puts you in touch with a variety of organizations is VolunteerMatch.org. Here you’ll find a list of organizations that best suit your abilities and needs.

Donate Money

If you’ve got the money and you would like to donate money to a charity, make sure you do your homework beforehand. There are a lot of scams that seem to pop up whenever there’s a natural disaster. You can visit the Better Business Bureau’s website to determine which organization you would like to donate to. Keep a lookout for well-respected names and read reviews. Sometimes giving even a few dollars can help out an organization tremendously.

Donate Items

You can also donate any items you may have around the house; however, it is always best to check the organization’s website to find out what they need before you send these items. Oftentimes there is a shortage of bottled water during a natural disaster. Another sought after item are baby wipes. You can also get family and friends involved by asking them for such supplies.

Offer Shelter

According to Legacy.com, you can also offer shelter to those in need. If you have an extra or spare room in your house and no one is using it, you can offer up this room to provide safe shelter for those who are left with nothing. To find out how you can utilize this program, you can visit the Disaster Response Program website for more information.

Raise Money for a Good Cause

Are you interested in donating money, but don’t have the financial means to do so? What about having a garage sale and selling a lot of the items you no longer use? You can also invite friends and family over and utilize them to increase your earnings. You can also sell items online and raise money to donate.

Now that you know there are ways you can help during a natural disaster, the next step is to get started doing it. You can choose to do as many of these tips as you seem fit. The important thing to remember is that you are helping those who desperately need the help.

Charities: The Good, The Bad, and The Questionable

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the country as a whole has felt an overwhelming need to give back to those who have had their lives devastated by the tragedy. With the overwhelming need to help, comes unscrupulous characters who feel an overwhelming need to rip off those who only wish to do good. With thousands of charities ready and willing to take your donations, one must do some homework before making a donation and here are some things to consider when considering a donation to a charity organization.

Are they known?

This one is a no brainer. If you are nervous about where your funds may end up then consider a charity with a long held reputation such as the red cross or the salvation army. The well-known charities are safer investments for your generous gift.

Unknown Charities

As previously stated, there are many thousands of charities out there all wishing to do go and just because we haven’t heard of them before, doesn’t mean they are not deserving of our donations. If you are unsure of the charity, search the internet for their name and the word scam. That is the quickest way to ascertain the validity of a charity. What’s more, see if they have an official website or ask them for their registered charity number or use the IRS search function for a list of registered charities.

Door knockers and phone calls

Nowadays the internet has curbed the need for door knockers and phone calls asking for donations to charities. In general, most charities set up donation pages on their websites and have numbers for you to call. They may advertise in the media, but it is a rarity to see them approach the public. That doesn’t mean they do not still employ such tactics but you still need to be leery. If someone knocks on the door asking for a donation to the red cross or the salvation army and they are not in uniform, then that should set off alarm bells. If in doubt just go to an official venue for the charity to make a donation. Phone scamming is also a problem and a good way to figure out if you are speaking to someone from the charity is to put the phone number from caller id (if you have it) into google and see if the number matches up with the charity. If caller ID is blocked ask them for a call back number. If they are reluctant then hang up the phone and save yourself a headache.

Those are just a few tips for your safety when it comes to charitable donations, and as always if you are in doubt go directly to the charity to make your donation.

Why Facebook Dropped the Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey Relief

In times of global strife, especially stemming from natural disaster, all available agencies seem to step into place and offer easy, direct ways to donate and help make a difference; Facebook has always been at the forefront of connecting people with places where they can donate to aid relief efforts. Previously, the social network acted as a pipeline for donations to the American Red Cross, but in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Facebook has begun to steer donations and donators to a small, relatively unknown charity called the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP).

For many years, the Red Cross was the go-to charity when it comes to disaster relief efforts. In 2013 following Typhoon Haiyan and in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak, Facebook users were prompted by a button on their home feeds to donate money to the cause through the Red Cross. Even now, President Trump and former President Obama, alongside numerous other celebrities and corporations, are donating copious sums to the charity giant. So what prompted the largest social network in the world to break from the norm and reroute hopeful humanitarians to a much smaller nonprofit?

Plainly put, the Red Cross caught a lot of backlash and criticism for how it handled the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the subsequent millions of dollars it raised for relief. Following the devastating disaster, millions of people donated to the Red Cross which collected nearly half a billion dollars to help recovery efforts. It pledged to use the $500 million to help rebuild the devastated areas with new homes, roads, and schools.

However, we’re now seven years after the fact and, while the Red Cross claims to have provided housing to over 130,000 people with that money, only six permanent homes have actually been constructed. While the organization is vastly experienced in the realm of providing emergency disaster relief, it is woefully inexperienced when it comes to rebuilding after a disaster in a developing nation. It also appears to have grievously miscalculated the number of Haitians whom the relief efforts impacted, citing the number at 4.5 million Haitians: Jean Max Bellerive, prime minister of Haiti during the earthquake, notes that this simply cannot be possible as the number of Haitians affected by the crisis did not even come close to 4.5 million.

All of these discrepancies, a desire to get help where it’s needed in as timely a manner as possible, and a goal of changing how people view donations were what prompted Facebook to partner with CDP instead of the Red Cross. In less than four hours after announcing the partnership, CDP reached Facebook’s matching goal of $1 million.

Most Devastating Hurricanes in American History

Natural disasters are a force against which we are all but powerless. The best military in the world can’t defend against an earthquake, and all the planning and preparation in the world can’t stop the devastation rendered by a tornado. When it comes to these naturally occurring phenomena, we as a species and as a society are at the mercy of the power of Mother Nature. All that we can do in their aftermath is pick ourselves up and try to help one another the best way that we’re able.

Texas is currently experiencing this aftermath following the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, which started on August 25, 2017. It has widely been recognized as one of the largest disasters to take place on American soil and is the costliest, estimating damage costs at nearly $180 billion. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, let’s take a look back to the most devastating hurricanes faced by the United States over the past century.

Superstorm Sandy • 2012

In late October of 2012, the eastern half of the United States was hit with one of the costliest storms ever to hit the nation. Of the 50 states, 24 were affected by this Category 3 storm which destroyed more than 650,000 homes and rendered over $50 billion worth of damage while cutting power to 8.5 million people in the Northeastern United States. Just over a month after the hurricane, the 12-12-12: Concert for Sandy Relief raised money for disaster relief, and the United States government passed a bill to provide $60 billion in aid to the areas affected by the storm.

Hurricane Katrina • 2005

In 2005, the Southeastern United States was hit with a storm whose devastation is still being felt over a decade later. While the winds alone wreaked catastrophic damage, the storm surge, peaking at 28 feet in some parts of Mississippi, was what really hurt the area alongside the levees and floodwalls that broke in New Orleans. Until Hurricane Harvey, this was the costliest storm, flooding more than 80% of New Orleans and costing approximately $108 billion in damaged property.

Hurricane Charley • 2004

This Category 4 storm hit ground in Southern Florida during August of 2004. The storm was so bad that Florida Governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for the residents of Florida and, for only the second time in history that a park at Disney World was closed due to a hurricane. All told, the hurricane caused about $15.1 billion worth of damage, making it one of the costlier storms to affect the country.

How Philanthropy Improves Community

hands painted loveSome of the wealthiest people in America’s past and present – John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, Warren Buffett – are also some of the biggest philanthropists in our country’s history.  Ultimately, feeling good is a lot more rewarding than having a lot of stuff.  But philanthropy does a lot more than making a donor feel good about themselves.  It helps improve society and foster a more positive community.  

It almost works like a ripple effect.  I mentioned Andrew Carnegie above, so let’s look at Carnegie Mellon, a school that he founded through as part of his dedication to education and scientific research.  Alumni of Carnegie Mellon who spent their formative years learning at this school have gone on to do incredible things ranging in fields from technology to sports to entertainment.  Others have gone to work in other educational institutions, spreading their knowledge and touching new lives.  It’s an endless cycle, and it could not have happened without that initial generous contribution by Andrew Carnegie.  

But that’s a very big picture.  Let’s look at a smaller picture.  By donating to a smaller, more local cause, you can help improve the community that you call home.  Maybe there’s a homeless shelter in your town that offers a rehabilitation program to the homeless to help them learn a trade and get a job.  By donating to such a cause, you’re helping a person get off the streets, learn a skill, and provide not only for themselves, but also their family.  Not only did you just improve that person’s life, but also your own community.  

Another example: there could be a community movie theater in your town that’s facing potential closure.  They have a plan to renovate the theater, which will save the business and bring in a lot more revenue, but they don’t have the money to make that happen.  By donating to such a cause, you help a local institution to survive, which will allow it to create jobs in your community while also providing a great service: moveis.  

Whether you’re looking at the bigger picture or a smaller picture, donations are a great way that you can do your part to improve society.  Find a cause you can donate to today that will improve and strengthen your community.  You’ll be glad that you did!  

How a Little Can Do a Lot

Charity pictureRecently, billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates started something called the “Giving Pledge”, promising to give at least half of their substantial fortunes to charity.  For the small-time philanthropist who doesn’t have untold billions to donate to causes, this can feel a bit discouraging.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute small amounts of money to worthy causes, and that money can go a long way.  This is particularly true in the age of social media, where like-minded people from around the world are able to seamlessly connect with each other.  Here are four different ways that you yourself can make a huge impact with a small donation, taken from the personal finance blog bankrate:

Join a “giving circle”: These groups will pool their money and then share the task of selecting which causes they support.  Since the funds are pooled, they can make a much bigger impact than an individual donation.  There are hundreds of these across the country, but if you can’t find one you like, you can always start your own.  

Microphilanthropy: The site pledge4good.com allows users to set up “pledging systems” for friends and family to give small amounts of money to a specific cause.  They allow individuals to easily raise funds from various people to magnify the impact of smaller donations.  

Make a microloan: “Microlenders” don’t actually have to give their money away to causes, they simply lend it.  A $25 loan, for instance, can empower an impoverished entrepreneur in a third-world country to start and maintain a business.  Nonprofit microlender Kiva, for instance, has awarded millions in small loans to impoverished people in remote parts of the world since launching in 2005.  

Toys For Tots: This is a pretty well-known and well-recognized charity, which allows you to make a huge difference without too much money.  The Holiday season is a long way off, but it’s a great way to make a difference for a child without having to pay too much.  

Serve a soldier: The USO Wishbook allows you to make a small donation to help an American military member.  A donation of $15, for instance, will provide a care package for a service member to get through the initial days of deployment.  And $25 provides a calling card for a phone call home.  Small gifts, but ones that make a huge difference.  

Philanthropy Culture

Philanthropy is a great initiative that gets people and corporations involved in helping others and making a change, but all too often it has the connotation of a stand-alone event, a long-standing pledge to donate money, or a means of forced involvement. We need to start viewing philanthropy as a mindset and not just something that higher-ups force upon you. One great way to open the conversation of giving and really engage people on a personal level is to cultivate a “Culture of Philanthropy.”

What is Philanthropy Culture?

Any organization, whether it’s a workplace, nonprofit, or team, has a certain ‘culture’ that defines it to outsiders and helps it operate smoothly — implementing philanthropy culture is injecting the corresponding beliefs and ideals into the organization at its core and letting them bloom and grow from there. Your team needs to see these initiatives not as mandates or policies but rather as ideas worth embracing that will help give more meaning to the work they do on a daily basis.

Focus on the change.

If you deliver a philanthropic initiative to your team as extra work or responsibilities, they’re likely to balk at the task. However, if you present the end results and achievements and show them the difference that the little bit of work on their end can make, you’re going to engage them in a more meaningful way that will help them to internalize the change they’re helping to make.

Engage with your fundraising.

If your team’s philanthropic endeavors require outside donors, it’s a good idea to have everyone do away with any old notions of fundraising and look at it as a wholly engaging experience. If you view potential donors as nothing more than cash cows to get money from, you’re likely going to turn people away before you even get started. Donors are individuals, and if you want their financial assistance you’re going to need to engage them with what they’re funding and where their money is going. Learn who they are as people and how they like to interact and get them involved with your efforts.

Be thankful and practice gratitude.

When working to instate the ideals of helping others and being involved, don’t forget to include thankfulness, too. Through working to promote philanthropy, you’ve undoubtedly received help from other people along the way, and while you’re primarily working on giving help rather than receiving it, you don’t want to ignore the goodwill of others. Implementing gratitude can go a long way in changing your culture from selfish to selfless.

What Does it Mean to Be Altruistic?

Most people, in some small way, do nice things for those around them on a regular basis. Whether it’s holding open the door for a stranger, exchanging pleasantries in an elevator, or buying someone a cup of coffee, we like to go a little out of our way to benefit the lives of others. However, it is much harder to maintain that level of kindness for a sustained period, even more so when you add in the element of selflessness. As difficult as this may sound, it is a reality for the people who have chosen to devote their existences to altruism and truly causing the most good that they can during their lives.

Altruism, by dictionary definition, is a belief set that promotes engagement in selfless practices that seek to improve the welfare of others; the opposite would be egoism. Altruism can perhaps be best understood by looking at some altruistic behaviors of the animal kingdom — take for example bird species that have a danger warning cry. In the event of danger, the birds closest to the predator will sound the alarm warning others while also giving up their positions, putting themselves in danger. Altruism is pure selflessness, where the altruistic person places the wellbeing of others above all else, even at the expense of personal safety.

In society, altruism and philanthropy are often spoken of interchangeably, but actually vary greatly. Consider philanthropy as a passion, something you do because you feel strongly about the lives of others and want to make a difference. On the other hand, altruism is more of a way of life, where the desire to be selfless and help others dictates your life and guides your path.  

The drive to be selfless influences what career altruists have, their home location, their lifestyles, and their salary, as their focus is outward rather than inward. Altruists are often driven towards high-impact, high salary careers, though unlike others they do not do it for the personal payout. The more they earn means the more they can donate or put toward causes they want to benefit; the more power and clout they accrue, the more leverage they have to make a difference.

Altruism is more than simply caring for others. It is more than helping out when you can and trying to remember to incorporate volunteering into your life once a year. Altruism is dedicating your life to being selfless and being constantly on the lookout for lives you can better and change you can effect.

Why People Choose to Give

Many people in this world seek some form of altruism — whether it’s helping someone cross the street or volunteering to build shelter for the homeless, every good deed that is done makes a little bit of a difference. It may seem strange to some people, the idea of giving something for nothing, but everyone has their own reasons for getting out there and helping out. Here are just a few of the reasons why people choose to get involved.

  • They want to make a difference.
    • A lot of influential activists can pinpoint the exact moment that changed their lives, the one that made them choose to take up their cause and begin to spread awareness about a certain issue. Maybe it was a conversation with a man who was homeless that made them realize they wanted to help those who couldn’t help themselves; maybe it was the first time they realized just how much trash was ending up in the oceans that caused them to work towards clearing our waters. Whatever reason people have for being active and involved, they’re hoping to inspire change and fix a wrong or bring an issue to light.
  • They want to give back.
    • Everybody falls on rough times once in a while — it’s just the circle of life. So when people who are used to being on the bottom and trying to fight their way to the top get a hand that helps them rise up, they’re going to appreciate the kindness, remember the gesture, and likely try to do the same for someone else that was done for them. Like the expression, “pay it forward,” some people are inspired by the help they were given during dark times and seek to help others as well.
  • It makes them feel good.
    • One of the most ‘selfish’ reasons why people volunteer is that they like how it feels when they help people. Studies have shown that giving to others causes the same hormones and chemicals to be released in the brain that are released when we eat junk food or do something pleasure. Further research and studies have shown the numerous health benefits that giving has on the giver, including lower blood pressure, less stress, and an overall increased sense of wellbeing.

Whatever the reason why people choose to give, the important thing is that they’re working to better their community and the lives of those around them. Look for ways you can start helping out in your local area and start giving back, too!