What’s Your Philanthropic Footprint?
What’s Your Philanthropic Footprint? Is it a slight impression that is barely visible and will eventually fade only to give way for further acts of goodness in the future? Or is it a deep imprint that continues to have a strong impact on the community?
Does your Philanthropic Footprint create a path for positive social change, a path that inspires others to join causes? Do you have a Philanthropic Footprint?
Unlike environmental footprints (carbon, water, waste, fuel, ecological) where individuals and organizations seek ways to reduce consumption and minimize the negative effects impacting the globe, the objective of a Philanthropic Footprint is the opposite: it should be maximized and intensified for a positive and fulfilling life engaged in activism.
To analyze and enhance one’s Philanthropic Footprint, one first needs to understand the theory.
A Philanthropic Footprint, a term I coined, is an emotional and physical journey that is guided by one’s heart, mind and soul. It is an imprint of goodness created through a series of altruistic steps that encourage a positive change in society while forgoing opportunities for financial or economic gain. It is an imprint for the betterment of humanity.
True philanthropy does not require an exhaustive written document with plans, procedures and policies. Nor does it require a detailed tracking of the total hours worked, number of individuals helped, quantity of items collected or the sum of dollars contributed. The reason action plans are created and figures and statistics tabulated are: to provide guidance and goals for those involved, to inspire others, to give a voice to the needs of the community, and to validate the efforts of the programs. It can also provide a benchmark to determine what was successful, and what can be done to improve the activity?
There are many synonyms for philanthropy: human kindness, volunteerism, activism, goodwill, compassion, humanity, charity, patronage, generosity, benevolence, love, and so on.
A footprint, real or imagined, indicates that someone has been there physically or in spirit. It is a story of their journey. There are many positive and enlightening footprints: Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the moon, warriors who trekked into battle and our ancestor’s footprints in fossils.
Your footprint on a birth certificate identifies you as a unique individual: it tells the story of who you are and where you were born. The Philanthropic Footprint is an account of where you have been and the good deeds you have performed.
Each of us has the opportunity to establish a Philanthropic Footprint to leave a legacy and an impression on the universe.
Philanthropy is not a term or action reserved for the wealthy, albeit they may have more resources to back their efforts such as writing a substantial check or attending high-ticket fund-raising soirées. We are grateful for these benefactors; they are a vital segment of philanthropy and without them many organizations would collapse.
But anyone has the potential to be a philanthropist, has something to offer, and can help in creating change whether it be their time, talent, voice, or experience.
Community stewardship and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have become notable benchmarks for society and businesses worldwide. As the head of the household, a business owner or a corporate executive, you may find yourself in the position to make a decision regarding philanthropic endeavors. How will you lead them to create change?
One of the most important steps in establishing a Philanthropic Footprint is to create a sustainable program by connecting with the proper nonprofit or cause be it socio-economic, educational, health related, environmental, animal-focused or other platform.
We take time to seek out the “best fit” for a career, occupation, or employees by matching skills and traits to job descriptions and responsibilities. The same care and investment should be made with regards to philanthropy. There is a cause or platform for everyone and every business.
From individual acts of kindness to large scale CSR initiatives, each is a valued and necessary component for our society to survive. It’s not about affecting masses of individuals or collecting thousands of dollars in contributions; it’s about connecting from the heart. Even if only a single person has reaped the benefit of one’s actions, it is worth the effort.
Nonetheless, there are ways to optimize the potential for effective stewardship, intensifying one’s Philanthropic Footprint!