I was having lunch last week with Judy Rosenthal and RozeLyn Beck when the topic of philanthropy came up.
I shared with these two amazing women that four years ago, I decided that I was a philanthropist and that someday I would be giving away millions of dollars to help tons of people improve their lives and communities. At present, I don’t yet know how or when this will happen. Those details are working themselves out, but the hard part is done. I made the decision about what role I wanted to play. I am a philanthropist. How about you?
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” – Zig Ziglar
It starts with the right attitude
The three of us agreed that philanthropy is first an attitude, second an action. RozeLyn, who is the Director of Development and Marketing for the YWCA Hartford Region, pointed out that it isn’t how much money you donate, but the fact that you share with others what you have.
Your capacity for giving may in part be related to your current financial position, however, your willingness to be generous, to share, to help, and to give to others is ingrained in your personality, values and attitude. Maybe it was how you were raised or perhaps you’ve been inspired to think and act philanthropically later in your life. However you got there, good for you. You’ve arrived at the Promised Land.
Schmoozers are practicing philanthropy
Both Judy and RozeLyn are practicing philanthropists and have impacted the lives of many people facing long term unemployment. RozeLyn is a successful graduate of the Schmoozers Job Group network where Judy and many other volunteers (myself included) give their time and talent. This volunteer organization assists unemployed and underemployed professionals in the Farmington Valley in Connecticut. Going into its fourth year this Fall, the Schmoozers group is one of the largest, most dynamic and energetic re-employment groups in the state of Connecticut. I have had the privilege of addressing this group as a motivational speaker over the past three years. I will once again be their kick off speaker for their new season on September 5, 2012 in West Hartford, CT. Join me if you can. It’s free.
Supported in part by the Jewish Family Services (JFS) nonprofit agency, Schmoozers have an amazing attitude of positivity and giving back. In fact, many of the Schmoozers members give back by offering to help at JFS, and making donations with their time within the community. And when they “land,” they always give back remembering the plight of their unemployed brethren during their journey.
This is a great example of how people can practice philanthropy even at times of great personal adversity, such as long term unemployment.
- Treasure – your donations, financial contributions, tithing, participating in the United Way community investment campaign drive at your workplace, bequeathing funds from your wills/trusts/estate to a nonprofit organization of your choice after your death, matching other people’s donations, sponsoring charitable events, raising money through your participation in charity golf, runs, walks, etc.
- Time – you volunteering at events, volunteer leadership roles, board positions, nonprofit committee work, making a call to a sick friend, making cookies for a new neighbor, walking a friend’s dog when they can’t, working in a food pantry, etc.
- Talent – your pro bono service of your skills and expertise to help advance a worthy cause without charge or at a significantly reduced rate, etc.
- Network – lending your social capital, sharing links on social media, serving as a table captain at a fund raising event, writing/speaking/advocating on issues, personally inviting your friends to get involved, share the causes you are passionate about with the people in your network, etc.
Today is the day
This summer I have the privilege to do a series of presentation training seminars for The United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. They are mobilizing a mass of volunteer leaders and a large network of affiliated agencies to kick off the 2012 United Way Campaign. Watch this short video with its wonderful music and you too will be inspired to be part of this united movement. I hope that you and your employer will enthusiastically participate in the 2012 United Way Campaign.
Be a role model
When you practice philanthropy, you will be inspiring other people through your actions and attitude. I know that some people prefer to be “anonymous” in their charitable giving. Discretion and tact are good traits to have but I say talk it up! We want to and need to make philanthropy a cool thing. Being a “philanthropist” is a good thing to be. We need to motivate more people – young, old and everyone in-between – to stretch themselves and become positive social change agents. I encourage you to find a comfortable way to rally your troops and fully leverage your social influence to extend your philanthropic impact. Our world needs more motivated philanthropists!
Your Networking Goal for the Week
This is the week when you can decide that you too are a philanthropist. If you like helping other people and it feels good to give, just imagine how awesome you will feel when you start leveraging your networking connections to do even more collective good!
When you network with people this week, take the time to inquire as to their interests and involvements with charitable organizations. Find out where their social change passions lie. Share yours with them as well. Invite them to join you in some small way – share some information, invite them to an event, ask them to help you raise money and awareness for the cause. It doesn’t have to be a big ask. Small steps matter too. Being a philanthropist takes practice. This week, you will start putting your philanthropic attitude into motion. The world just got better because of you!
“Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”- Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker, the inspiration behind the musical Hello Dolly!