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Philanthropy is a great way to bring a deeper sense of purpose into your life and pay things forward as a member of our global community. As a philanthropist, you desire and plan to impact the world through steadfast and intentional giving.

For Nancy, philanthropy is one of the most fulfilling aspects of leading an abundant life. Since venturing into the world of philanthropy, she has joined the national board of Room to Grow, a nonprofit that provides education and resources to parents and caregivers of young children to support their development in the critical first three years of their lives.

Nancy has also pledged to help build the first student wellness facility at her alma mater, the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. The wellness initiative is the first of its kind and will allow students to prioritize their school work with wellness and balance.

Building her philanthropic plan began with the same three questions you’ll need to ask yourself:

1. What is philanthropy?

2. Who do you want to support?

3. How do you want to give to the organization?

We’ll walk through each question so you can start building your sustainable philanthropic plan to create impact and better futures.

What is Philanthropy?

While the two are often conflated, philanthropy is not charity. Both charity and philanthropy are similar in that they provide us with opportunities to support causes. However, charity doesn’t require the same commitment or planning as philanthropy. Charity also provides temporary relief to the immediate needs of those impacted by a specific social problem. In contrast, philanthropy is a strategic effort to address and eventually eradicate the root causes of major social issues.

Who Do You Want to Support?

On any philanthropic journey, it’s especially important to dig deep into your values to determine where you’ll start investing. Philanthropy is personal because it requires introspection to clarify what issues matter most to you. Since philanthropy can become a part of your legacy, you must do self-reflection work to identify with the organization or causes you’ll support. Some questions to ask yourself:

1. What issues matter to me?

2. What social issues have I been personally impacted by?

3. What solutions or approaches to problem-solving most align with my values/beliefs?

Nancy uses her passion for education as the north star of her philanthropic planning. Since education is instrumental to having opportunities throughout your life beyond school or career — education on nutrition, raising children, wellness, and more — Nancy resonated with organizations bridging the gaps in access to education. 

“I feel fortunate that education was a priority in my home growing up because it helped pave the way for me to strive toward college and eventually land a career at Goldman Sachs before starting my own company.” – Nancy Twine

Once you know what issues you want to focus on, you must research to find a reliable, transparent organization to work with. At the beginning of her career, Nancy started her philanthropic planning at Goldman Sachs by seeking opportunities through her employer. She took the initiative to request information from the company’s philanthropic wing, reviewing their vetted list of organizations.

Even if you don’t have a giving center or team at your company, you can do some Google research on causes you’re interested in within your city to see what opportunities await you.

How Do You Want to Support Them?

Time and money are two of the most common forms of philanthropy.

Time is your most precious asset, so don’t overlook how impactful your presence can be in your planning. If you find yourself at the beginning or in a new phase of your philanthropic journey and you don’t have the means to make major or continuous monetary donations, giving your time in creative ways is a priceless alternative.

“Sometimes, I couldn’t give financial support, so I gave back with time. Providing mentorships in-person and virtually, based on my availability to meet and travel, met my needs and those of the organizations I support.” – Nancy Twine

Some ways to give your time philanthropically include:

1. Volunteering onsite and at events

2. Mentorships

3. Training opportunities

4. Social media campaigns

5. Guest speaking

5. Serving as a board member

If you can give financially, you can create a plan that works best for you and your cause. You can partner with your favorite organizations to set up recurring support, larger funding projects, grants, and more to suit your financial plan. You can also communicate should your financial needs shift, as most organizations are eager to work with their philanthropic partners to make the most out of their relationships.

Philanthropy has many benefits, including the emotional boost you get from supporting the greater good. Your philanthropic contributions can also offer you financial benefits like tax relief. The bottom line? Philanthropy is a great way to lead your life with intention and is an effort that isn’t reserved for the ultra-wealthy. Whether you write a quarterly check or provide a free immersive workshop on your expertise, you can do your part to change the world starting… now.

What are the causes most aligned with your values? Share your philanthropic possibilities in the comments.