Friday, December 9, 2011

What is Philanthropy?

I used to think all philanthropists had to be very wealthy, but that isn’t the case at all. The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines philanthropy as: 1. “goodwill to fellow men, especially active effort to promote human welfare, 2. “a philanthropic act or gift.”

While it is true that generous endowments from the wealthy allow people to accomplish amazing things, it is also true that anyone with a feeling of goodwill toward others can act in a way that promotes human welfare. In fact according to Wendy Smith, author of Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World contributions from American households comprise 75% of all giving to nonprofits every year, far outweighing the amount provided by foundations, corporations, celebrities, and even billionaires.

But it is hard to know how to begin. How can you make sure your financial donation will be put to good use and what are some other good ways to help out? Check out these books for ideas on how to make truly helpful monetary donations and how to act philanthropically in a great many smaller ways.

The Accidental Fundraiser by Julie M. Still

Do Your Giving While You Are Living by Edie Fraser

Jeanne @ Warrenton

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