Giving Back: Tips on How to Become a Philanthropist

Philanthropy, or the giving of money to charitable causes, is big business. In the US alone last year, over $14 billion was given by leading philanthropists to advance noble causes, from curing cancer to teaching children how to code.

But what does a philanthropist do, and how can a person become one? It takes more than just money and connections to become a successful philanthropist. Philanthropy is never the act of a wealthy individual, but rather an entire foundation consisting of hundreds of dedicated workers and donors.

If you want to change the world through philanthropist work, you’ll need to know the basics of the industry. Here’s what you need to know about how to become a philanthropist.

How to Become a Philanthropist: Know Your Passion

The first and most important part of being a philanthropist is knowing how you want to give back. Whether you want to combat the mental health crisis or alleviate child poverty, the key is having a defining mission and purpose.

Most importantly you need to know the golden rule of how to be a philanthropist: money alone won’t solve problems. Your work should revolve around changing structures and prevent crises, rather than just throwing cash at a problem and hoping for a solution.

Learn from Other Entrepreneurs

Many successful entrepreneurs choose to give back via philanthropic work. It’s important to do your research and see what you can learn from those who have made an impact.

It’s also a good way to see how your chosen career field can be put to good use. For example, take Dr. Kristofer Chaffin, a doctor to celebrity athletes who has put his success and expertise to good use with a range of medical and community causes.

Do your research and you’ll soon be inspired.

Build a Team

No matter how much money you have, you won’t be able to make a difference alone. You’ll want to start your own foundation and staff it with a team of experienced researchers and fundraisers.

Ideally, you should learn about the industry by enrolling onto a philanthropist degree course. The act of giving back is a lot of work, so you’ll need to be prepared.

Establish Your Network

Once you’ve got a team on your side, it’s time to build your network. A philanthropic network is typically vast, as connections are crucial if you want to make a real difference.

You’ll want to connect with lobby groups who can help influences things on a political level. You’ll need to build a strong relationship with the charities that are relevant to your cause. Supranational bodies like the UN and EU can also help facilitate your philanthropic efforts.

Manage Expectations

It’s important to keep in mind that the road to being a successful philanthropist is a long one. For those who work in the industry professionally, a philanthropist salary is usually low, to begin with, climbing up only when your foundation truly gets going.

Your work may not yield the results you wish to see immediately. One of the largest foundations in the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has taken over a decade to get to where they are now. It’s important to remember that things take time.

Learn More

Everyone has a duty to give something back in life. If you want to learn more about how to become a philanthropist, or to see how organizations across the globe are able to have a positive impact, then make sure to check out our Non-Profits Section for all of the information you need.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.