Once you start giving – and building your character – money and success may follow sooner. Plus it’s just a kind thing to do.

Philanthropy: A Great Return On Investment

Philanthropy: A Great Return On Investment

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Most students need volunteer hours to apply for colleges and scholarships, but have they ever looked at the other benefits of giving back? Just because students don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to their community or help their favorite cause. Help your students brainstorm organizations in your local area where they can volunteer and become philanthropists.

Now that you’re at the age when you can start earning your own dough, it’s time to think about how you’ll allocate the funds. There are several items to consider, including car payments, insurance, clothes, spring break vacations, emergency funds, and investing. But there’s another important item that may not have crossed your mind: philanthropy.

What Is Philanthropy?

When you hear the word philanthropy, it’s not uncommon to think about celebrities or extremely wealthy individuals who establish foundations to donate millions to a particular cause. However, philanthropy doesn’t stop at money.

It is defined as the giving of your time, talent, or treasure to improve the lives of others. In other words, taking time out of your busy schedule or using your gifts to serve others also demonstrates the true meaning of philanthropy.

Why Is It Beneficial to Me?

There are several reasons why being philanthropic can be beneficial to your life. For starters, you’ll leave a lasting impact, whether directly or indirectly, on the lives of others you touch through your generosity.

You’ll also earn volunteer hours, which can be extremely valuable when it’s time to create your résumé for college and apply for scholarships.

Colleges and universities prefer students who exemplify excellence both in and out of the classroom, and meaningful volunteer work is an excellent way to let your light shine and to stand out from the other applicants. Most importantly, the memories and experiences that you’ll gain while giving back to others will help put life into perspective and remind you of just how fortunate you are for years to come.

How Can I Be Philanthropic?

You don’t have to be loaded with cash to be philanthropic. In fact, giving your time or talent is just as important as donating money.

To get started, you’ll want to select a cause you’re passionate about and begin researching charitable organizations in your local area.

To illustrate, if you’re passionate about helping young children succeed academically when they’re dealing with debilitating health issues, you could volunteer as a tutor in the pediatric unit at your local hospital.

Or if you’re passionate about the environment, you could serve as a spokesperson for an environmental protection organization at a community summit. You could even consider starting your own nonprofit organization.

Another great example of philanthropic efforts is traveling abroad to a country ravished by poverty to help feed hungry families and complete other charitable work in their local communities.

Some more ways to be philanthropic:

  • Serve meals at a homeless shelter.
  • Raise funds for a health-based charitable organization.
  • Donate to a local toy drive around the holidays.
  • Host a turkey drive for Thanksgiving.
  • Collect nonperishable items for the local food bank.
  • Volunteer at the local library.
  • Partner with a local charity to work its phone bank.
  • Pledge a monetary donation to a charitable cause.
  • Donate gently used items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
  • Volunteer to assist seniors at a local nursing home.
  • Register with the Red Cross to assist distressed victims at shelters when emergencies arise.

Remember, being generous to others is a sure way to bring joy into your own life. Meeting requirements for volunteer hours or qualifying for scholarships is just an added bonus!

Check List

  • What is a philanthropist?
  • Can you name any philanthropists?
  • Do you need volunteer hours to apply for the college you want to attend?
  • If you didn’t need to have volunteer hours for any reason, do you think it is worth your time or resources to give back?
  • Where are some places in your community you can volunteer?