5 Ways to go from being a donor to a philanthropist in 2018

January 02 2018 • Rachel Calderon


This editorial column was published in the January 2018 edition of The Park Press.

You’ve always been a generous person.

You’ve “paid it forward” at the tollbooth. You’ve donated to Toys for Tots and served soup to the homeless. You’ve even made cash donations to charities from time to time.

But you’re ready to take your giving to the next level. You’re ready to dive below the surface issues and address source problems such as poverty, homelessness, early childhood development and economic development just to name a few.

If these thoughts are running through your mind, you’re ready to become a philanthropist.

You don’t have to be a Bill or Melinda Gates to be a philanthropist. It’s all about connecting your passion and dollars to a strategy for giving purposefully.

Here are five easy ways you can elevate your giving and start making a real impact:

1. Define your personal values.

Identifying what means the most to you in life can make you more aware of where you want to direct your focus. Ask yourself, “Has any event, individual or organization impacted me in a significant way?” Values could be: courage, equality, peace, innovation, joy, knowledge – just to name a few.

2. Write your mission statement.

Developing a mission statement articulates the values and purpose of your philanthropy from the inside out. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or lofty, but a brief statement that captures the purpose of your philanthropy and how it reflects your core values.

3. Create a giving strategy.

Figure out the challenge you’re looking to address and ways you can accomplish it. Concentrate your charitable resources in one or a few areas of interest to help you be more proactive, rather than responding to requests. Seek advice from local experts if you’re not sure where to start. There are lots of creative ways to build a strategy that maximizes your philanthropy with local connections to make the most impact.

4. Get engaged with a local organization or project.

The best way to figure out where you want to focus your philanthropy is to engage with local initiatives that are making a difference. For example, if your focus is on economic development, connect with local efforts that are working to make Orlando a hub for social enterprise. Visit the Parramore Kidz Zone in downtown Orlando to see how teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates have decreased by keeping kids focused on a goal for their future through sports, internships, jobs and more.

5. Invest with purposeful giving.

The final step is to invest intentionally. Just like intention, strategy and engagement, charitable dollars are a key piece of solving problems at the source. Things such as endowments and other structures can help you accomplish your goals.

Ready to take the first step? Contact Mary Meghan here or call 407-872-3050.

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