I recently finished reading a book called The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World written by Jacqueline Novogratz. Novogratz is the founder of the Acumen Fund, a philanthropic organization that focuses on effectively supporting entrepreneurs in under-developed countries. They do so, not by throwing money at a problem, but by actively researching it through contact with the local community, and then by helping the local community members help themselves. It’s a great book that tells Novogratz’s story from the time she leaves her career in banking to when her fund helped improve lives in India, Rwanda, and Pakistan. This book inspired me and likely would do the same for you.
Any one can get angry — that is easy — or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy. ~ Aristotle
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~ Anne Frank
Without getting too deep into the why’s and the how’s, let it be said that one of my personal focus points is on changing my nature of self-preservation, which these days could potentially be said to border on selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked hard for what I have and to be where I am, but I can now attest that there’s a time in your life when you realize that work, ambition, whatever you want to call it, isn’t everything. However, in your own situation, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Do you get the same satisfaction doing what you’re doing, that you do when you’re donating your time and energy to a cause? I’m assuming you do. Most extremely busy people can still find time to work with a local non-profit so give it some thought.
The one issue with charity is not knowing where your money goes. It’s important to take an active part in determining where you donate your money. Giving loosely, with no research, can be just as detrimental as not giving in the first place. What if your chosen non-profit has its President earning more money than s(he) likely should. Will you still donate? What about how the money is used? Does the money go toward one-time donations to a certain area, such as mosquito netting to Africa, or does it go toward building programs aimed at helping people become self-sufficient? Be active.
Whether you’re donating time or money, or both, it’s important to get involved. The sense of purpose that comes with this use of your time and money will be much more gratifying.
Cheers to all
~ The Hatter
- Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion | Video on TED.com (pointaview.wordpress.com)
- Inspiring a life of immersion (rogervankampen.com)
- How I Plan to Incorporate Philanthropy Into My Business (blogs.sitepoint.com)
- Donating in Times of Disaster: Six Things You Need to Know (philanthropywriting.com)