Identify charities & causes that are important to you and your family.
What is Philanthropy?
Write about what philanthropy means to you. Have you heard the word before? How would you describe a philanthropist? Do you fit that description?
Look at the list of alternative words for philanthropy (listed above). Which of those words speaks to you most? Why?
Challenge Your Beliefs
When I asked mamas to define philanthropy, many of them answered, “philanthropy is for rich people.”
Why do you think people believe that? Do you believe only rich people can be philanthropic? Do you believe YOU are philanthropic? Do you believe your children can be, even at a young age?
Switch out the word philanthropy for one of the words that spoke to you from the description above. Do you believe only rich people can [your word]? Do you believe you are [your word]? Do you believe your children can be [your word]?
Do your beliefs about [your word] and philanthropy match up? Do you feel like something as simple as word choice can keep people from giving? What word or words compel you to feel empowered to help others? Write about it.
Causes that are Important to You
What causes call to your heart? List them by theme or be specific and list charities. Include why they speak to you and what about them makes you want to help.
Causes that are Important to Your Family
What causes are important to each member of your family? Your partner? Each child? What interests them?
If your child is still tiny and can’t articulate a cause, what do they like? Dogs? Food? Mommy? If your baby loves dogs, perhaps a cause you could associate with that interest would be a dog rescue. If they like food, a food pantry. If they are into mommy, a shelter or program that helps mothers.
Come up with a family list of what causes or ideas are important to your family (even if they don’t align with your own).
Identify what hurdles keep you from practicing philanthropy. Are you too busy? Do you forget that donating to charities is an option? Is money tight? Write about them. No shame…we can’t work around something until we know what that something is. We all have hurdles, mama.
Yesterday you identified your hurdles, today is all about coming up with creative ways to work around them. Short on time: could you make a donation instead? Short of money: could you donate time? Short on time and money: could you collect unused items in your home to donate? Can’t make a donation: could you ask for a donation to a favorite cause as a gift? Could you spend time simply spreading the word about a favorite cause?
Brainstorm as a family. Look online or start a conversation with friends & family—find creative ways to benefit your community and causes. Keep your generosity goals in mind when coming up with creative solutions: does your solution promote connection, community, generosity, support, & kindness?
Another thought is to consider is how & where you spend your money…do you support local stores and small businesses? Do you eat out on nights when restaurants are hosting fundraisers? Do you support your friends’ businesses for basic needs or gifts? Do you search small shops on sites like Etsy? Or gift products that make a difference (like The Obakki Foundation’s Scarves for Water program—the sale of 500 scarves raises enough money to drill a water well for a village in Africa. The scarf makes a beautiful gift with a purpose).
For some families, it’s not about giving their money away, but spending it creatively to support small businesses or make purchases that make an obvious impact…just a thought to consider when coming up with creative ideas to help your money (& family!) make a positive difference.
Do you have a family system in place for donating to charity? Is it a family value that is not only intellectual, but actual? You know in your mind and heart that you want to give…do you take action as well? Do you have a jar, piggy bank, savings account, or % of income that is designated for charitable giving? Is your current system more spur of the moment and you donate as causes cross your path? Do you donate out of guilt? Do you pre-plan? What guidelines do you use for giving? When you give, do you point it out to your children? (Not to be bragging, of course, but just to normalize what/how/when giving takes place).
Write about how and when your family currently donates and how you feel it is serving your family and others.