CEE Standard: Buying Goods and Services
Most students need volunteer hours to apply for colleges and scholarships, but what are the other benefits of giving back? Help your students brainstorm organizations in your local area where they can volunteer and become philanthropists.
Now that many of you are at the age when you can start earning your own dough, it’s time to think about how you’ll allocate your money. There are several items to consider, including car payments, insurance, clothes, vacations, college savings, 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 will also hopefully notice that it makes you feel good, too.
In addition, the time spent volunteering 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. Meaningful volunteer work is an excellent way to let your light shine and to stand out from the other applicants. Most important, 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?
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 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 a philanthropic effort 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 (or meat-free alternative!) drive for Thanksgiving.
- Collect nonperishable items for the local food bank.
- Volunteer at the area 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 visit seniors at a local nursing home.
- Register with the Red Cross to assist distressed victims at shelters when emergencies arise.
Evaluating Your Giving
It’s always a good idea to make sure that your donation is being used to do the most good. With that in mind, you will want to be sure that any organization is using money you donate in the ways you want. There are three well-known places to find out more about a charity and how they use their money. Take a look at GuideStar, Charity Navigator, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance for more information about the charity of your choice.
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!