Lambros Christofi’s Blog

How to Encourage Philanthropy in Your Family

The culture of philanthropy is increasingly gaining the participation of different parties, including companies, individuals, and families. Family-based philanthropy is such a welcome idea that can be passed on from one generation to another. The chances of success in such an undertaking are particularly high once the trend is established. But how can you encourage philanthropy in your family?

Experts have no one-size-fits-all strategy on how to go about establishing philanthropy in a family. To start off, however, the family members should understand the multiple benefits of engaging in philanthropy. The feeling of satisfaction after having helped alleviate someone’s plight may be sufficient to encourage family members to engage in charity. Once that passion has been established, family members should start thinking of the individual competencies they have and how they can give back to society.

Finding passion in philanthropy along the lines of professionalism increases the motivation and ability to give to charity successfully. For example, if there are persons in the family whose profession is in line with the healthcare sector, then they can contribute by offering a free health check-up clinic or even seminars on healthcare topics. On the same note, if there are welders and engineers within the family, then they can give back to the society by constructing simple pitch accessories such as goal posts, among other activities that are in line with their individual profession.

The choice of a charity project that your family has opted for can also determine the sustainability of your family’s dedication to philanthropy. For a start, the family may choose to start with basic projects with quick-evidenced results. For example, choosing a community cleanup exercise may help make a visible impact after cleaning the environment. Such short-term benefits and visible results serve as incentives that encourage more participation in even bigger projects.

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What to Know Before Donating Overseas

Donating to people in need is one of the most selfless things a person can do, especially when it’s overseas. However, compared to donating to somewhere in their home country, there are a few things that need to be addressed first.

Here is what you need to know about donating overseas:

Choose An Organization

There are a slew of overseas causes that need funding. People can choose from various organizations to help out such as the Disaster Relief & Humanitarian and the Peace & Human Rights. Charities like these address a certain problem.

Regardless, a choice must be made. Finding one may prove to be difficult, so be sure to do some extensive research until a suitable charity is found.

Understand Rules and Regulations

All charitable organizations come with their own unique set of rules and regulations. As such, it’s important to read them thoroughly to prevent a mistake from happening. However, when it comes to donating overseas, it’s a different story.

For example, there’s more to donating funds to an organization overseas than putting a few hundred dollars in an envelope and sending it through the mail. There are guidelines that must be followed in regard to the donor and the organization.

Some Charities Are Tax Deductible

There are a few charities that people can deduct from their taxes. However, not all of them are and if you’re not careful, you could end up in hot water at tax time. In fact, any type of donation that’s made to an organization overseas does not qualify for a tax reduction. As for what does qualify for a tax reduction, there are a few U.S charities that let people support overseas programs.

For instance, people are eligible to help out international programs through the charity. That way, it allows people to support those in need and also helps them out with their taxes.

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How to Maximize Your Donation’s Impact

Donating to an organization you support is a great experience. Knowing you’re playing a role in making the world a better place by investing in a cause you care about is a great feeling. However, you also want to be an educated giver and know that you donations are making the biggest impact possible. 

Do Your Research 

One of the most important things you can do is to educate yourself. If there is an issue you are particularly passionate about, read up! This will help you make better, more informed decisions regarding your donations. You should also research the organizations that you’re considering supporting. Check the internet for ratings and reviews of the organization. You might even compare your contribution to making a purchase. You want to make sure that you’re getting a good product before you spend the money. Why not apply the same mindset here? 

See if you can measure the group’s impact. How many people do they support? How do they measure success? Do they feature reviews by credible third parties? A charity needs to be able to back up their claims with concrete evidence.  

Narrow Down How You Donate

Narrow down your focus. Which issues and organizations are most important to you? It’s more efficient and will provide more impact if you donate to a few select groups rather than a wide variety. By adjusting your focus, your money will have more impact. You’ll also be able to foster a meaningful relationship with the charity and learn more about the work they do. Don’t underestimate the value of these relationships and insights. 

Get Involved

Take your impact the next level by doing more than just writing checks. How can you contribute your skills to the causes you care about? Some organizations have openings for board members. This way you can help make decisions about projects. You could also hold a fundraising event for an organization to get your friends and family involved. Another option could be sharing your story of how you learned about the organization and why you support them. Charities are always looking to increase awareness!

Taking these steps will help you maximize the impact of your donation. Performing research, narrowing your focus, and getting involved beyond just giving money will help you better invest in philanthropy. 

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Tips for Starting a Philanthropy Group at Your Company

Starting a philanthropy program at your company is a great way to give back, boost employee involvement, and invest in your community. The following pieces of advice will help you launch a program with maximum impact. 

Choose Your Mission Carefully

Your first step should be to decide your mission and goals. Why are you creating a philanthropy program? What do you hope to accomplish? Your goal should be deeply connected to your company’s values. Ideally, you can also utilize your group’s expertise to give back to your community. Once you have a rough idea, you need to refine it by creating a concrete mission statement. 

Create a Team

Next, you should create a system that will help your company achieve its philanthropic goals. For example, you need to put a team in place. Which members of your staff will help serve your mission best? You’ll need to schedule consistent meetings where you can discuss initiatives and progress. You need staff who will be efficient, driven, and dedicated to seeing your program succeed. 

Build Your Online Presence

Once you’ve nailed down a mission statement and assembled a team, it’s time to build awareness! Create a website for your program and share its goals and story. You can describe the types of groups that you’re looking to support. Once the page is built, share it! Send it out to everyone on your emailing list and encourage your employees to share it with their networks. Build social media profiles for your foundation and be active on them. This will help build increase awareness. 

Be Flexible

Remember that you need to remain flexible. Few things will go perfectly according to plan, but that’s okay. The important thing is to start with the building blocks and then get the word out. You’ll have to consistently make adjustments and refine your program as time goes on. 

Share Your Results

Make sure you understand how to communicate your results with others. Reports should tell a story and highlight your successes. You can share these stories on your website and social media pages. Follow up with groups with which you’ve worked to ask questions about their experience. This will provide you with valuable insight on how to improve your company’s philanthropy group. 

Starting a philanthropy group at your company is a complicated process, but the results will be well worth the effort!

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How to Choose the Right Charity for Your Company

Perhaps after reading about the benefits of giving to a charity, you’ve decided to choose a foundation for your company to support. This is a great decision! Your journey, however, is just beginning. Selecting an organization can be a daunting task. After all, you need to ensure that it aligns with your company’s mission and that the group will be good stewards of the resources you provide. The charity of your choice will, to an extent, represent your company. The following are important points to take into consideration as you pick the right charity for you

Determine Your Group’s Values

What does you company stand for? It’s important to choose a charity that supports your mission and goals. It will be most helpful to start the process with a list of your company’s core values. There are normally two types philanthropy businesses pursue. In the first, strategic philanthropy, your company will work with charities that are related to your industry. You have an opportunity to make a great impact through your company’s industry knowledge and resources. 

The second type, general philanthropy, is focused more on meeting your local community’s needs rather than sticking to something in your industry. 

Compare the Charity’s Values

Once you’ve determined your company’s values, examine the charity’s core values and mission statement carefully. How do they measure up against what your company believes? Make sure they don’t contradict your values in any way. You don’t want to commit to something you disagree with. Such an action also has the potential to damage your company’s reputation. 

Research the Charity

Your next step should be to research the charity in which you’re interested. Check sources like GuideStar for more information. This site will be able to give you a better idea about the group’s transparency, history, and any past problems.  Ask to see the charity’s strategic plan for the next few years. This will show you how the group is organized and how they structure their projects. 

Discuss the Charity with Employees and Partners

Before going further, you should also get insight from your employees and business partners. Is this something that they are okay with getting involved in? Soliciting their feedback will help partners and employees feel involved and appreciated. You value what they think, so why not run the charity by them before committing? 

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect charity for your business to support!

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How to Donate on a Limited Budget

There are countless reasons why donating to a charitable cause is worth your time. Donating provides invaluable support and assistance to worthy organizations and people and can bring meaning to our lives. However, one of the many dilemmas individuals face is figuring out how to donate their finances with little extra money. The truth is, every dollar adds up and can make a significant difference in the lives of many. Plus, if you don’t have the spare change, there are plenty of other ways you can donate to a charitable cause. Below we explain several ways to donate on a limited budget

Donate small amounts each month

One way to donate on a limited budget is to set up automated payments monthly to a charity of your choosing. This benefits the organization who can rely on a consistent source of income, whether that be a few dollars or more. This also helps the individual making the monthly contributions as they can plan ahead and expect when their donations will be made. 

Collect spare change

While it may not seem like much, collecting your spare change can add up at the end of the year. Set aside a jar for change that will be collected for a local non-profit or organization that aligns with your values. At the end of the week, empty any change that has collected in purses, cars, or pockets. You’ll be surprised at how much your change can add up to. This is an easy way to donate that requires little effort, yet can yield big results. 

Ask for gift donations 

Instead of receiving gifts for birthdays or holidays, many people choose to request that their loved ones donate to an organization on their behalf. Often, charities will have an option to set up a birthday or gift campaign, making it easy for people to collect donations. Additionally, newlyweds can consider requesting a donation in place of a wedding gift. 

Round up your purchases

Many businesses, especially around the holidays, will have the option to “round up” your purchase to the nearest dollar. When doing so, businesses will round your purchase total to the nearest dollar, providing the extra change to the organization of their choosing. This is a simple and quick way to give that will make you feel even better about your purchase. 

Donate time, skills, and belongings

Lastly, there are several ways you can make an impact without donating money. If you have time, consider volunteering with organizations who need help with various projects. You can also donate your skill sets to businesses or children who may need a mentor. Another great option for helping local organizations is to donate belongings such as furniture or clothing.

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The Positive Impacts of Giving

Donating to a charitable cause can be one of the most rewarding experiences in one’s life. It is important to consider philanthropic efforts, not as a business transaction, but rather a connection between one individual and humanity. Many people support organizations that align with their moral beliefs and values. However, it can be challenging justifying donating money when you have your own expenses to uphold. As challenging as it may seem, there are several ways that individuals can donate or make a difference in the lives of others. Whether you may realize it or not, giving back has many positive impacts not only for the organization but for the donor as well. Take a look at the several benefits of giving:

Makes you feel good

Knowing that you are doing something good to help others will naturally cause you to feel better about yourself. Giving back is a proven way to feel empowered and boost your mood. Studies show that when people donate to a charitable cause, the pleasure center of the brain is activated. Giving is also an ideal way to strengthen your personal values and discover what you are passionate about. 

Set an example

When you share your experiences of donating, whether that be through financial means or time, others are more likely to get involved. Giving back is a great way to connect with friends and family and can encourage them to support causes that they find of value. It can also be a great way to get more people involved to raise even more funds for a charitable organization. Of course, donating to a local non-profit or organization is a great way to set an example to children who will be motivated to grow up making positive changes. 

Tax benefits

If you donate to a nonprofit or charity organization, you may receive a tax break at the end of the year. Be sure to save receipts of donations made and report the number of contributions made when completing your taxes. Your tax amount may be deducted, reducing your tax burden at the end of the year. 

The positive impacts of giving back are endless, both for the donor and receiver. Many nonprofit organizations and research centers rely solely on donors to stay operating. By giving back, you are supporting the greater good and are helping to make a difference to important causes across several different industries, areas, and communities. 

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