As a philanthropist, you have the opportunity to help others by making various contributions to organizations that support causes from world hunger to animal rights. Contributions can be monetary, or more based on offering your time and physical efforts to those in need.  Being an effective philanthropist, however, is much more than making a donation on a now and then basis. To practice effective philanthropy, follow of few of these general steps:

Establish Your Goals

The first step to being an effective philanthropist is establishing what your goals are.  What are you focusing on, and who are you seeking to help? As a philanthropist, you may have different goals that you want to focus on at one time; or, you may focus on the same goals for a specific period of time.  Establish your goals and set the plan to reach them.

Determine Your Cause

You’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a cause, or causes, that you truly believe in. Conduct the proper amount of research on different organizations and causes that you have an interest in.  You don’t have to limit yourself to one cause to focus on, either.  Many philanthropists support multiple causes that they actively support and believe in.  The causes you choose to support should align with your personal beliefs, interests, and values.   

Decide on Your Contributions

Often, the thought of “giving back” makes one think of monetary contributions; however, you don’t need to have a substantial amount of money to give back to those in need.  While monetary donations to different charitable organizations are always helpful, there are always additional ways to give back to society. Consider donating time to an organization of your choice.  Donating time can consist of completing various tasks from volunteering at a local organization, or, on a larger scale, participating in international volunteer work.

Budget Your Donations

If you are deciding on making monetary donations as your primary way of giving back, you’ll want to make sure you budget for them accordingly.  Being an effective philanthropist is more than a single action or donation. With that, you’ll want to factor your donating plans into your regular financial budget.  Consider it an investment, one that will provide you with the joy and satisfaction of helping those in need. Studies have shown, giving back to others is a proven way to improve your mental health and provide a more positive outlook on life and society.