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5 reasons business owners can find purpose through philanthropy

Okay: I’m about to say something that is going to sound terribly cliché, but I promise if you keep reading, you won’t regret it. As a business owner, “giving back” is really, really important to me. It’s such an easy thing to say though, isn’t it?

It looks great on your website, positioning yourself as a community ambassador or fundraiser of sorts, and the business world is full of people using their charitable endeavours as corporate currency. But I’m here to tell you that true philanthropy is so much more than that. For every dollar you donate, every worthy cause you support, the pride and purpose it will bring to your own life is immeasurable.

It’s great that you have a goal and vision for your business, but for many of us this simply isn’t enough. We yearn to be part of something bigger and bolder, but we don’t know where to start. So, why not start right now? Here’s how you can get started on finding purpose through philanthropy:

1. Figure out what’s important to you

Over the years I’ve supported several amazing causes, and all of them have touched something deep inside my psyche. My younger brother was born with a degenerative disease that often results in blindness, so when I began making good money, The Royal Blind Society (now known as Vision Australia) was the obvious group to throw my support behind initially. For you, it might be a cancer research charity in honour of a loved one, or an organisation that gives disadvantaged kids the leg up that you never needed, thanks to your amazing parents. When you focus on something that you’re genuinely passionate about, not only will you achieve more, but those achievements will have a much greater impact on you personally.

2. Consider your own values

You’ve narrowed it down to a cause that you really believe in; now it’s time to consider your personal values and beliefs and how these will influence which organisations you choose to support, and how. You may be a committed Christian, eager to work with a charity that shares these values, or maybe you care deeply for the environment and want to make sure you’re not helping to prop up a group that doesn’t value sustainability the way you do. Again, knowing you’re working with an organisation you’re on the same page with will only enhance your experience.

3. Put your money where your mouth is

For some people, volunteering on the ground is a must. Others simply don’t have the time, or they’ve realised that they can make a far bigger impact sticking to their day job and donating a portion of their earnings instead. For nurses and teachers, travelling overseas and donating your time is an amazing way to make a difference, however, for a stockbroker or barrister earning hundreds of thousands of dollars, donating one day’s wages each month would like help much more than any hands-on effort they could undertake.

4. Go beyond financial contributions

Of course, all charities and researchers need vital cash to operate, so the importance of writing regular donation cheques cannot be overstated. However, for me this was never enough. I needed to feel like I was more involved at a more grassroots level, and get my hands dirty – really make an impact, and know that I was a part of creating sustainable, lasting change that continue to improve the world long after I’d signed and sent that cheque. It was this desire that led me to help out with tasks such as putting together gift hampers for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and eventually propelled me to become involved with the Human Kind Project and it’s charity partner, The Hunger Project.

5. Leave a legacy

Working with the Human Kind Project has given me the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on this world, and if my life were to end tomorrow, I would be comforted in the knowledge that I have really made a difference. Not only have I managed to raise more than $135,000 for this amazing organisation, I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Malawi and see the work of The Hunger Project in action – a truly life-changing experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. Which brings me back to what I was saying earlier – don’t underestimate the impact that philanthropy can have on your own life.

I have raised lots of money, given hours of my time, and this has benefited the organisations I’ve partnered with enormously, but what they’ve given me is something even more remarkable. My adventures in philanthropy have helped guide me towards living a purpose-led life, whether it be in my business, my personal relationships, or indeed in my efforts to give back to others. I truly hope this inspires you to do the same, so you can experience this amazing feeling for yourself.

About the Contributor:

Nancy Youssef is an award-winning finance broker, mentor, philanthropist, and founder of Classic Finance and Classic Mentoring. Nancy is the author of Fear Money Purpose, which is designed to inspire others – women especially – to step out of their comfort zone and be inspired to achieve more. 

Have you got a news idea or a commentary you would like to share with us? Get in touch: TSeditorial@thirdsector.com.au

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