What’s the difference between charity and philanthropy? What are the various types of organizations in the non-profit sector that we might be able to support? If we’d like to give, how do we determine who to give to? Or, in the wise words of Aristotle: “To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide on who to give it to, how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.”
Philanthropy is about being intentional and strategic with your giving. It’s about giving such that the recipient will become independent of the need for your gift. Accomplishing this is much more difficult than just writing a check to appease a request. Our task this week was to break into smaller groups, three to five students, and seek clarity on the specific needs we would like to address with our potential donations. Last week, we had everyone prioritize the issues they’d like to address – animals, health, community, education, international, human services, etc. It was interesting to get questions about why they ended up in specific groups, when they may have been given their first priority. When this was explained, a few responded that they had just filled out numbers without really paying attention. Perhaps that’s my fault for not articulating the impact of their decision, but then again, perhaps it’s a lesson in itself that mental engagement may occasionally work out in one’s benefit. Apply yourself; you will reap the benefit. Submitting an answer without reading the question; may not work out so well…
After some group exercise, much of the time today was going over how to contact organizations to see about a time to volunteer in the next few weeks and/or meet with someone to learn more about how they impact our community. I prepared a call script, voicemail script, email follow-up, and a crash course in cold calling and non-verbal communication when visible cues are not an option. Pretty sure everyone is freaked out about making calls; that’s nerve wracking for everyone. However, for future job hunting and quite a few jobs out there, phone and other sources of communication ought to come in handy. The good news is, they’ll be calling organizations that are typically in need of volunteer support, talent, and certainly dollars. They’ll also be calling folks that are in a career with some level of altruistic intent, so there should be some willingness to help a student working on a project.
Students this week were even more engaged than last week. I think the project is sinking in a bit and they’re becoming more comfortable in partnering with me. There is so much to cover learn and share – for them and for me – I have a feeling the time will go quickly! Guess that means we’re having fun. (At least I am; hopefully at least one or two others are getting some enjoyment…)