Philanthropy is… when someone raises money or gives money back to the less fortunate. The money that is raised is used to make changes that will benefit people in need. Some of these philanthropic organizations are available to help the growing needs of seniors, developing nations, children, lower-socioeconomic groups, and the environment to name a few. Here’s where philanthropists step in. Those that are able to donate to charities, volunteer their time, or can assist in sponsoring others can team up philanthropic organizations.

Of course, when people think of philanthropists, most think of the well-known billionaires like:

  1. Richard Branson
  2. Warren Buffet
  3. William Barron Hilton
  4. Bill and Hillary Clinton
  5. And of course, Bill and Melissa Gates

But you don’t have to be a millionaire/billionaire to be a philanthropist. Instead, small donations, volunteering your time, and making a commitment to the community also counts as philanthropy. If you want to start with a more organized commitment,  here are a few top organizations that accept both young and old “Average Joe” volunteers:

  • Habitat for Humanity – Help a family build their home.
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters – Assist youths in needs.
  • The American Red Cross – Always there during emergencies and looking for volunteers.
  • Adopt a Senior and Adopt a Soldier – Both organizations need volunteers for different reasons.

Of course, you don’t have to join an organization to help your community. Some ideas for DIY folks: Hold a food drive or toy drive during the holidays, round up some friends to help distribute the toys and food to the needy or take it to a more organized program that will distribute it for you. Check out your local Church or Temple and find out what charities they partner with, volunteer or make a contribution. Collect recyclables in the neighborhood and use the money to donate to a conservation program in your area (you’re cleaning up the neighborhood and giving back).

If you’re not sure where to start, check out a volunteer program online or in your area. Visit your local Starbucks if you really aren’t sure where to start. A few years ago they began challenging their customers to donate 30-days of community service to their neighborhood. Their baristas can point you in the right direction.

Here’s a video I found on the Huffington Post on “How to Become a Philanthropist.” Enjoy!