Having a healthy relationship with money allows us to be truly free in our giving, whether it is through charity or any other form, and thus become philanthropists in a way that purely represents our love of mankind. Though many of us use the words charity and philanthropy interchangeably, their meanings are very different.
Charitable giving has a ‘science’ of its own. When we talk about giving large sums of money to a group or cause, it requires careful planning for tax purposes, the shifting or liquidation or assets, and to mechanically fund a favorable outcome for those in need.
Philanthropy, however, is the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed by the giving of time, talents, knowledge and other resources to a causal organization.
In deconstructing our philanthropic desires, it is important to examine why we choose to give, the intent behind it and to be clear about the legacy we wish to leave by our giving. Our legacy will not only affect our generations to come, but also the beneficiaries of those for whom we choose to give.
In the United States, there are community foundations who are designed to help philanthropically minded individuals and families explore, understand and plan their charitable giving. Additionally, there are wealth psychologists who help us free ourselves from our emotional attachments to money.
Once free, we are truly able to use money in a way that supports our best interests and philanthropic desires through investing, spending, donating, or saving. We can feel balanced in any, some or all of these choices. We are then able to be involved more fully in meaningful charitable opportunities and to become philanthropists in our truest and purest sense… because of our love of mankind.
Lastly, it is good to remember that giving is perhaps a financial reward for the receiver, but an emotional one for the giver… the gratifying feeling of giving away time resources and money to benefit others keeps the flame going …