Sarah Ford | December 3, 2013

What Kind of Philanthropist Are You? Align Your Giving With Your Personal Values

by Tsega Belachew, Forbes Contributor

‘Tis the season for giving and gratitude, and the holiday spirit is infectious; after all, studies say we are “hardwired for giving.” In 2011, 85% of donors gave during the end-of-year giving season. But while we feel the urge to give every holiday season, we don’t always take the time to reflect on why we give and what we really aspire for our gifts to accomplish. As the year comes to a close, it is time to consider how we show our generosity, so we can allocate our resources deliberately and effectively.

For those looking to put their philanthropic urges into action, the challenge lies not in finding a worthy cause, but rather in choosing among the large number and variety of available options. It’s easy to let ourselves be convinced that the most innovative and impactful options are represented by the trendiest approaches and campaigns. But like Dan Pallotta put it, “Philanthropy is the market for love.” And that reality means though driven by good intentions and a big heart, we don’t always think critically about what meaningful philanthropy is for each of us.

“Where will my generosity do the most good?” This question is a good start, taking into consideration the efficiency of a single donation. But when it comes to social change, a more astute question might be: “What kind of good do I want to help build?” Social change is a messy, complex thing, and the needs are constantly evolving. It’s important to question with every giving season if our money is best spent toward the same end as it was last year.

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Source: Forbes

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