Is So Much Philanthropy Sincere?

Lately, there’s been a trend of more and more people participating in philanthropy. While this trend is great and can do a lot of good for many incredible causes, it’s important to consider whether or not the philanthropy trend is actually sincere. It’s likely that you currently, or plan to eventually, participate in philanthropy in some way. Considering philanthropy as a whole is important, but it’s even more important to examine your own reasons for participating in philanthropy and make sure they’re genuine.

Isn’t it good no matter what?

While some people may argue that giving is beneficial no matter what, that’s not necessarily the case. Insincere philanthropy can be beneficial in the short-term, but it needs to be a lifestyle you adopt. Charity means writing a check and donating to organizations you care about and is also a positive thing, but philanthropy is a larger concept. To really make a difference and be a true philanthropist, you need to work on different characteristics and attributes.

Because philanthropy is a way of life, it means you must genuinely commit to making philanthropy a focus in your life. If you push the image of a philanthropist, but do not actually follow through, or only practice philanthropy for a short amount of time, it can be detrimental to the causes you work with. If you do not honestly pursue a philanthropic lifestyle, you will be giving your time and efforts on a short term basis. It’s important that your reasons for participating in philanthropy are to actually make a difference and you’re willing to invest that time instead of only using it to market your business until you are more successful.

How to make sure your giving is sincere

If you’re concerned over whether or not your giving is sincere, take some time to reflect on what you’re doing and why. If you’re participating in philanthropy because you genuinely want to make a difference in the world for some issue, that’s great! That’s the real reason you should put energy into philanthropy. However, if you’re only acting philanthropic in order to market your business or personal brand or because you think it makes you look good, you should re-evaluate your priorities and think about how you can be more authentic with your philanthropic pursuits.

Start making your giving sincere

There’s a possibility that after considering why you participate in philanthropy, you’ve realized that you’re only being philanthropic in order to achieve some end goal for yourself and not because you actually care about the cause or people connected to the philanthropy. However, this absolutely does not mean that you should stop being philanthropic! It merely indicates that it’s time for you engage in more sincere philanthropy.

Find a cause you’re genuinely passionate about and focus your efforts there. Spend time volunteering and finding ways to help out that cause, even if it doesn’t benefit you or is inconvenient. Make an effort to get to know the people your philanthropy works with and the others who volunteer or work at that philanthropy. With some work, adapting a genuinely philanthropic mindset won’t take too much time!

Use Social Media for Your Philanthropy

Social media is incredibly useful for businesses and I’ve already addressed how entrepreneurs can benefit from it, but it can also be utilized for philanthropies. Since so many people around the world use social media, it’s a great way to get the message out about your philanthropy and attract new donations, volunteers, or even just awareness. Follow a few simple tips on how to use social media for your philanthropy and you’re sure to see success!

Create succinct design

As you begin creating your social media sites for your charity you’re using a succinct design across all platforms. While some layouts and other small details differ from site to site, you can control the major aspects. As you create your social media accounts, make sure you use the same username across the sites, so anyone searching for your philanthropy can easily find it. Create a new logo, color scheme, and themes you can use for all sites. You want your social media look to be easily recognized so volunteers and people who are interested in your cause can find your accounts.

Regularly update

Something you certainly want to avoid is creating an abundance of social media accounts and then never updating them again after the first few weeks. Instead of making an account on every site possible, choose carefully which are the most popular and can help your charity out the most. Research when the best times to post on each site are and begin making regular posts. Try to post something at least once a month, ideally every week. The more original content you generate, the more traffic you’ll attract to your sites, but make sure what you’re posting is good quality!

Engage your audience

Even if you regularly update your sites, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t actively engaging your audience. Avoid mindlessly posting and sharing content, because that won’t excite your following. Put thought into what you’re posting and try to make and find unique posts. Consider giving away free raffle tickets to a random social media follower if they interact with a post or just make sure what you’re posting is eye-catching and thought-provoking.

Start a blog

Research shows that charities most commonly use Facebook and Twitter to promote their cause, but there are plenty of other platforms and methods you can use. A great way to generate a larger following and make more people aware of your cause is by creating a blog where you post unique content. Update it regularly; once a month shouldn’t be too difficult to do! Make short write-ups about your events and news for your philanthropy and share events on a calendar. Include important contact information, forms for volunteering, and anything else that might be important on your site so anyone who’s interested can easily access it. You could even create positions for volunteers to run your site; crafting social media skills is useful and there are a lot of people who want to get more experience doing it!

The Skill Most Professionals Lack: Communication

Technology has made it easier to connect with people and discuss business and current issues, but an important skill has suffered. That skill is communication. More and more people find genuine communication difficult since they’re used to using technology to talk with others and lack experience in solving issues. As a professional, it’s important to develop strong communication skills that you can use in your business ventures. Dealing with people is vital in any profession and it’s a skill employers find valuable and can make you stand out. You’re probably wondering how you can improve your communication skills, so read on for some tips to make your communication outstanding.

Know your point

Before you begin trying to convey an idea, make sure you know what your point is going to be. It’s common for people to begin speaking, stating facts, and offering their thoughts, but then trail off because they do not have a clear understanding of what they were trying to say. If you’re going into a meeting or having an important conversation, think about what your end goal is and what you would like to convey.

Gauge your audience

As you’re speaking, gauge your audience. Do they seem engaged in what you’re saying? Is your topic appropriate for the group you’re in? If it seems that no one is listening to what you’re saying, back off or approach the conversation in another way. Consider stopping and asking people for their input to give them a chance to speak.

Keep it short

No matter what you’re saying, if you’re attempting to communicate it to other people, do your best to keep it short, whether it’s a presentation or a speech. No one wants to listen to another person drone on for half an hour about something they may not care much about, so plan out what you’ll say beforehand and keep it as succinct as possible.

Know how to listen

While communication depends on what you say and how you conduct yourself, an awful lot also depends on knowing how to listen and engage with other people. If you’ve been speaking for a while, stop, and see what the other person has to say. It’s vital that you know when to be quiet and listen to others’ opinions or information on a topic. Make a point to sincerely listen to what they’re saying, even if it isn’t well-thought out or is difficult to understand. People greatly appreciate another person who listens well.

Ask questions

Finally, ask questions when you’re having a conversation with someone else. People like when others show interest in what they’re saying and the best way to do that is through thoughtful questions that relate to the topic at hand. As someone’s speaking, make a note of a point you might need clarification on or something you agree with and have similar experiences.

The Importance of Social Media for Startups & How You Can Use It

It’s 2017 and billions of people use social media every day. There are various sites that cater to different niches, some for specific industries like real estate, education, or fashion. Businesses have realized the benefits of creating social media accounts for their brands and gaining a loyal following online. People from all over the world purchase goods and services online and discover new companies. As you create your startup, it’s time to plan how to use social media for your new company as you find your place in your industry. Social media can be an entrepreneur’s secret weapon when it comes to marketing a business.

Why is social media so important to my startup?

Social media is the chosen form of keeping up with communication and news for a lot of people. When someone wants to learn something about another person or company, they often take a look at their social media, where information, reviews, products, and events are listed. By understanding how best to use social media as you launch your company, you’ll generate interest in it before it’s even officially up and running. You can attract followers and customers with well-crafted ads and posts, in addition to generating interest around your product. Properly using social media marketing allows you to compete on the same playing field as much larger companies.

One of the biggest shifts social media has caused is the importance of focusing on what the consumer wants from you as a company. Do your research and learn what attracts consumers and what kind of social media posts your target audience responds to well. People on social media are accustomed to scrolling past ads without giving them more than a quick glance, much less ever clicking on ads that pop-up in their news feeds. Startups face a huge issue when it comes to advertising and getting recognized in such a fast-paced culture, which is why it’s vital to develop high quality, eye-catching social media accounts that attract consumers to your business. To accomplish this goal, you need to know what it is that the consumers like.

How can I best use social media?

Now that you understand the importance of using social media as an entrepreneur with a new business, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to use it to help your business. Most people use social media without a full understanding of how to do so effectively. The first step to take is identifying and understanding your target audience. Once you know your target audience, do some research on what social media networks they use the most frequently and when is the best time to post on those outlets. Keep up with the latest news on social media platforms so you know how to use the features, what consumers think of the different features, and what styles or methods are trending on those platforms. Check out this social media guide to find even more ways to utilize social media platforms for your small business.

Marketing Entrepreneurs: the Next Big Thing

The traditional advertising industry is rapidly changing, thanks to the development of new media and the fast-paced environment of business today. In decades past, a company focused large sums of money on their huge marketing department and it usually led to nearly instantaneous success. Now, there are so many companies competing with similar products for the same consumers and it takes more than money and lots of people to lead to marketing success. The best way companies can achieve marketing success is through an up-and-coming trend known as entrepreneurial marketing.

What is entrepreneurial marketing?

Entrepreneurial marketing is a new development in the marketing industry that has occurred with the rise of entrepreneurship. Within business, entrepreneurship has taken on its own industry and style, with people in any industry striking out on their own as entrepreneurs. The general impression of entrepreneurs is they’re resourceful individuals who work hard, organized, and know how to achieve a goal. These traits are irreplaceable when it comes to marketing in the new media age, when consumers are constantly being hit with messages from companies trying to sell a product or know how to block ads as they browse the web. Marketers need to channel the entrepreneurial spirit and find innovative ways to get their message to consumers.

What are the benefits?

If you attempt to market your business in the traditional sense, there’s a chance it might work. However, there’s a higher chance that you won’t encounter success and other marketers will take away your customers. With entrepreneurial marketing, you have the opportunity to attract new consumers and the security that your team is developing innovative methods for attracting business. This new method of marketing often leads companies handling risks and failures better, because the entrepreneurial mindset takes risks, but also understands how to jump back if the risk fails to accomplish the original goal.

How to emulate entrepreneurial marketing

The most important part of attempting entrepreneurial marketing is making sure you have the correct mindset. Emulate the attitude of an entrepreneur by approaching a problem with determination and getting ready to institute new ideas and methods. Instead of staying stuck with traditional marketing methods, utilize new media and technology that can help you reach consumers. Social media is a great resource, because it’s more difficult to block ads and people will follow company accounts that market incredibly well. Take time to understand your consumer and what they like, then market your product and company accordingly.

Children are the Future: Teach Them to Be Philanthropic

People focus on what we should and should not be teaching children so often and how best to prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow, but teaching them about philanthropy is unfortunately not a common part of these discussions. Philanthropy is a mindset that more and more people are adopting, which is made easier with how technology has connected people across the world. Teaching children the importance of empathy and philanthropy provides them with the tools to truly make the world a better place.

Donate frequently

One way to donate is by going through the possessions already in your home. You’re sure to have a significant amount of unused clothes and items sitting around the house, so take a day or two to go through different rooms and gather up the items you no longer need. Take time to do the same thing with your children and their rooms, then sort through the items. Anything in good enough condition can be donated to a donation center, plus you have the added bonus of more room in your home.

Another way to teach your children the value of philanthropy through donations is by buying items for local shelters or drives and dropping them off. If your kid is an animal lover, go out and buy some pet food then take it to your local animal shelter. Maybe even stay and give a few hours walking dogs or helping socialize the animals; most kids would love it! You can also donate food or toys to drives by local philanthropies. Keep an eye out for events and the lists they provide for what they need.

Volunteer together

A great way to show your children how to be philanthropic is by teaching through example. When you have spare time, volunteer at a local organization for a cause you feel passionate about. Most philanthropies will allow parents to bring along children to help in some capacity. You can also encourage them to participate in charity events at their school, whether it’s a fundraiser or simple donations or a larger event.

Teach them kindness

If you teach your children the importance of kindness, you’ll teach them how to be philanthropic. Teach kids that everyone deserves kindness, no matter what their circumstances may be. By teaching your children to treat others with respect and kindness, you’re raising them to be good adults who will go out of their way to help another person. Even smiling at someone and greeting them could make their day; it’s important children know that they can always make a difference with kindness.

Help out a neighbor

A simple way to help your child become involved in philanthropy is through helping out a neighbor. You might not know your neighbors well, but it’s always a nice gesture to offer to rake their leaves or shovel snow. Ask if there’s any other way you can help out, even if it’s something simple like pet-sitting while they’re on vacation or stopping by with some food. It’s good to know your neighbors and even more important to help them out.

Turning Your Startup into a Powerhouse

A business isn’t started with stagnation in mind. A business is started with expected growth and rising success. Whether your business is running smoothly or struggling to survive, have no fear. You can turn your startup into a powerhouse by following these steps.

Evaluate your Consumer Demographics

Who are your target customers and who are your actual customers? You may not actually be connecting with the audience that can spring your business on the fast track to success. Pinpoint the demographics your business strives to reach. This will help you create a plan of action to gain their attention.

Demographics require some research. Depending on the service or products your business provides, you’ll want to evaluate how your target audience decides to purchase what you have to offer. Adjust your company to be more visible to your target audience through demographics.

Expand your Audience

Don’t set unnecessary limits for your startup. There are only so many consumers that need your services or product so find opportunities to expand your target audience. Marketing to consumers will show them why they need your services or product. The same consumers may not purchase from you over and over again. In order to gain growth, you need to reach more people.

Keep in mind the best way to do this. Social media and SEO are great ways to reach people that may not know you by association or by your location. Keep your website user-friendly and always make your consumers feel appreciated by sending them a thank you email when they do business with you.

Identify your Setbacks/Opportunities

Always admit to your faults. Businesses have successes and failures during their startup process. If you’re looking to expand for success, you need to realize what areas of your startup could be improved. Improvement could be found through both setbacks or opportunities.

If you see an opportunity within your company, improve it even more for success. Any setbacks in your company are clear signs of what you can either cut out or improve as well.

Compare to Competitors

Don’t be afraid to look around. You need to know what you’re up against and how you can beat it. Competition is nothing to fear, it only shows you how far your business has to go. Research what your customers are also being offered. To see what your competitors are doing and plan to be one step ahead of them; you need to understand your competition. Do you think Pepsi and Coca-Cola ignore each other?

Seek Partnerships

An aggressive powerhouse strategy is finding the best partnerships for your business. Partnerships will benefit your business is many ways. Thriving businesses are all about implementing the best ways to provide a great experience for their consumers. Partnerships combined great deals with means of the same mission. Find a mutually beneficial partnership for your startup.
You want your business to develop and promote growth. Rapid business growth doesn’t happen overnight. With the right plan and implementation, you can turn your startup into a powerhouse.

How to Start a Startup

Embrace your inner entrepreneur. A startup business requires hard work and strategic planning to be successful. If you’re considering starting your own business, here’s what you need to begin.

Find a Purpose

Why were lemonade stands created? To provide lemonade to thirsty customers and make a profit. In the same way, you have to decide why you’re starting this business. What will your business provide? Why do consumers need what your business has to offer? Utilize inspiration in your life so you can come to a decision on your business. This is the first step you should take for your startup.

Determine a Plan

You can’t successfully launch a startup without a plan. This will require research on your part. You’ll need to discover how you can provide quality services or products and what consumers/demographics will be your targeted audience to support your business. Check out companies that are in the same industry as your startup.

Create a Name and Mission

What inspires you? A business name is more than a name. If you’re using your name, determine what title should follow. For example, if you’re a photographer your business name might be “Jane Doe Photography”. However, if you don’t want to use a name, find a unique business name that will stick out to consumers.

Seek Investors

Although you might consider yourself the expert behind your business, you may need to seek advice and knowledge from a professional. If you lack the funding, pitch your business to an investor, who may even have ideas and contacts to give you to help your process.

Set your Finances

It doesn’t take a math genius to start a business, but an accountant might help. Your business might need a loan to provide sufficient funding to start. Don’t set yourself up for disaster. Keep a plan of action for the money involved in your business.

Find a Location

Set your business in a prime location for consumers to reach you if you’re in retail. If your business is rather corporate, make sure your location is based somewhere employees don’t have to commute too far. You also have to account for the size of the location. How much parking is there? What’s the maximum capacity? The location has to fit the needs of your business.

Gain Permits & Licenses

Legal action is almost always required to start a business. Business licenses and permits may vary from state to state, so check with the specific state your business is in. They can also change depending upon the business type. You’ll need all necessary requirements before officially opening.

Promote Your Business
Before you launch your business, you can tease the public with promotions. For a great opening, you’ll want to make sure you have the public’s eye. Utilize social media, hang flyers, send emails, and manage your website to gain awareness and start your business.

How to Use Philanthropy to Increase Your Health

Philanthropy is all about helping other people. This goal should be your main focus when participating in philanthropy, but there are ways charity helps the giver as well. We know that helping others makes up feel good, but only recently did we learn how good; those who participate in philanthropy are often healthier because of it. People are constantly searching for ways to give a deeper meaning to their lives; for many, they find this fulfillment through helping others and practicing philanthropy. Besides that sense of fulfillment, philanthropists receive physical and mental health benefits as well.

Longer life

People who participate in philanthropy usually also live longer. According to a study done at the University of California, Berkeley, people over 55 who volunteered were nearly 50 percent less likely to die in the next five years than those who didn’t volunteer at all. Other studies have noted the same occurrence, especially with those who are significantly older; one of the most common characteristics these people have in common is that they regularly spent time volunteering.

Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major issue with many adults, so anything that can lower it is certainly something you should try out. Being able to naturally lower your blood pressure through participating in philanthropy is an incredible option. You’ll feel calmer helping other people and giving your time toward a good cause. The positive emotions you experience help reduce your blood pressure and lead to an overall more calm feeling.

Less stress

People frequently talk about how they experience less stress after they begin regularly doing philanthropy. Even though many doubt they have time to volunteer and it seems like one more thing to juggle in their schedule, the surprising result is that philanthropy makes you feel less stressed. It could be because you see other people struggling and you’re working with them, so your problems seem further away and less important.

Sense of purpose

Many of us are searching for a sense of purpose and achieve that from our professional or personal pursuits. However, many also find a deep sense of purpose through philanthropy. As you help others, you know you’re doing something that’s bigger than you and actually making a difference in someone else’s life. Having a sense of purpose impacts your mental well-being in a big way and helps raise your self-esteem.

Less depression

Among those who regularly participate in philanthropy, fewer people report feeling depressed. You get a different perspective on life and work with people who are struggling through their own issues, but are finding ways to survive. People who volunteer often report feeling happier and more positive. Simply helping others makes you feel good and impacts your life in great ways, just like it does theirs! Depression makes your life incredibly difficult and can make success in other areas feel impossible; just volunteering a few hours a week can help lessen this feeling and improve your view of the world around you.

Philanthropy Without Giving Away Revenue

Is it possible to give charitably with little or no money involved? Of course volunteering for charity is giving away time and services, however that’s not always the most efficient option for corporate companies and society. Can companies give without giving away their revenue? Let’s explore.

In the business of philanthropy, charitable deeds require many assets. Time, service, people and funding are just a few. On a social scale, donations among a community provoke a positive change for those in need. Today, companies are coming to the conclusion that they can effectively give through utilizing their skills without compromising financial revenue.

This isn’t to say that companies shouldn’t give money, however it is to explore the creative outlets of giving beyond financial resources. The top Fortune 500 companies that generously give a portion of their earnings appear cash-friendly, donating millions, which is only about between 1-10% of revenue. A thriving company that gives generously has ample opportunity to make a difference in the world.

Take Bank of America, for example. Although they give financially, they also strongly believe in giving personal time. Volunteering is essential to creating a better community. Bank of America employees receive 2 hours of PTO every week to volunteer in the community. If you add it up without including 2 weeks of PTO for leisure, that’s about 100 hours of volunteering per year each employee has the opportunity to take. Volunteer grants are a great way for companies to give without giving just cash or a check.

Another company allowing employees volunteer time is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global healthcare corporation. GSK shows creative means of corporate philanthropy in the healthcare business, and believes that medicine is a great need among humankind. Two ways GSK gives back to the community is through “Orange Day” and the “PULSE Volunteer Partnership”. Orange Day occurs one day a year where employees are encouraged to go out into their community and volunteer where they see a need. The PULSE Volunteer Partnership matches employees with non-profits for 3-6 months of full-time work utilizing their skills and knowledge of healthcare among societies in need.
Companies have the opportunity to give on a base beyond finances. This can be collaborating with another company, hosting a community event, marketing through social media for a cause, or simply allowing employees volunteer time. No matter what provokes a company to give, or how a company decides what charitable organizations they give to, monetary deeds are just one of the many ways a company can positively impact society.