At its most basic, philanthropy is regarded as a love or compassion for other’s welfare, and taking action to ensure that other people’s welfare is improved. While many people assume that philanthropy and charity is the same thing, this isn’t the case. There is a strong overlap but charity is often seen as removing hardship or pain for people while philanthropy work is often used to solve problems and remove the root cause of the hardship.
An example would be that charity is seen as giving someone a fish so they can eat whereas philanthropy is teaching a person how to fish, so they can find food and eat when they need to. There are many reasons why people undertake philanthropy, including:
- A lot of people have genuine empathy for others
- Some people have benefitted from the support of others and want to do the same in their life
- People and businesses may find that they have time or money that can be used to support others
There are arguments that helping society and assisting people to improve their status ensures the whole of society benefits. There is also the fact that some businesses and people undertake charitable and philanthropy work to boost their own profile, create awareness about what they do or enhance their brand.
Some philanthropy activities may not be completely altruistic but if the end result sees society better off, this is an outcome that doesn’t have a downside. Philanthropy can remove hunger for a lot of people, it can create nicer or safer surroundings in a community, it can provide support, awareness and opportunities for minority and ethnic groups and it can provide children with more education or a better platform for developing their life.
The benefits of philanthropy can have a huge impact on individuals and communities, and businesses should be looking for ways in which they can help others. This means businesses should be looking for ways to add philanthropy to their business plan and it is possible to do so. These are some of the ways firms incorporate philanthropy into their business plan.
Businesses Can Volunteer Their Employees’ Time
Many charities are great at helping others but when it comes to the financial or administrative side of their work, they may not have experience or expertise. A great way for many companies to assist these organisations is to volunteer staff members to assist in areas where charities need support.
For example, an accountancy firm may provide an employee for 2-3 days a month to review a charities financial comings and goings, providing assistance and allowing the charity to focus on their core strengths. Local and even national charities can benefit from experienced professionals undertaking work on their behalf.
Other ways firms can provide assistance via their employees is with a mentoring scheme or even just lend a helping hand. Sometimes all a charity group needs is a number of people in order to clean out an area or do some good work in the local community. Businesses should never forget that their time is often as important as money for a support group.
Providing time and teaching groups how they can solve problems is an example of philanthropy as opposed to charitable work.
Firms Can Encourage Customers To Make Donations
There is always a lot to be said for helping a charity or worthwhile cause receive donations. A good example of this can be found with Penny Appeal. This movement encourages customers to donate one penny or small change, in the hope that if enough people take this action, a large sum of money will be raised.
The organisation supports orphaned and destitute children around the world, giving them access to education, water and food. This helps support ethnic and minority groups, creating a better tomorrow for many children and as customers are donating small change, they won’t feel as they are paying a lot to support people.
Firms Can Provide Materials To Those In Need
Depending on the line of work a business is in, there may be opportunities to provide items or material that are lying spare or which can be obtained cheaply. Training material can be provided to schools or educational bodies to provide insight into the way a firm operates. If a company obtains stationery or office equipment at a low price, or they produce it themselves, they can supply this to local youth groups or charities, allowing them to save money, and then do more important work of their own.
An organisation that takes time to assist those that need help will support the community, but they’ll also engage and motivate their employees. There is also a good chance that the firm will receive greater interest from their audience, which could lead to sales and improved engagement. Acting in a philanthropic nature allows a firm to help others while developing their own brand.