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!


  1. Love your DIY tips. This kind of philanthropy can also be fun.

    Our neighborhood has a Porch Fest every year where musicians perform on porches and folks walk around listening to music all afternoon. Last year, instead of lending our porch to musicians, we sold popcorn, sodas, and water to people strolling by to raise money for our local SPCA and bring attention to our current foster dog.

    We had a great time. People loved the snacks. And we raised $75 for the SPCA while only spending $20 in supplies.

    Great post. I’m pinning it now. 🙂

    • @Pamela -What a terrific idea! I love the incorporation of music, food, and neighbors. It sounds like it’s a great community building experience for a good cause.

  2. AverageJoe Reply

    My issue when thinking about being a philanthropist was that I wasn’t passionate about any cause. I’ve been lucky to live a pretty normal life and haven’t had a crusade anywhere near me….so I did nothing. Then a wise friend told me that I needed to get involved and then I’d become passionate. Of course he was dead-on correct. I’m now more passionate about giving than ever before AND I learned the secret, which was that as I gave more, I received WAY more than I gave. Funny how that worked.

    • @AverageJoe -Thanks for bringing this point up. I think it keeps a lot of people from getting more involved in helping out causes – not knowing what their passion is. I’m curious as to what you decided to invest your time in. I, myself, have been thinking about Habitat for Humanity. I think I’d really enjoy the hands-on aspect of helping someone build a house.

  3. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter Reply

    I’m a big supporter of donating time. I also love animals, so that’s why I usually end up donating time at pet rescues or fostering rescue dogs. Yep, anyone can make a difference.

    • @Crystal – It’s great that you have a cause; animals. I love visiting pet stores on the weekends and am always amazed by their foster parents – they usually foster multiple dogs or cats. 😉

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