Many people see leading philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Bob Geldof, and Aubrey Chernick as people who have earned enough money to be able to give some to charity without missing it and still being able to enjoy a privileged life. And whilst this may be true, there are a lot of valuable lessons that we can take from these leaders in philanthropy, regardless of how much money we have available to commit to giving. If the subject of philanthropic leaders is not one that you have given much consideration to in the past, we’ve put together a list of great lessons that you can learn from these people.
One thing that each of these people have in common with each other is generosity. Although they may work in widely different industries or have earned their fortunes in a number of different ways, each of the leading figures in philanthropy understands how much more useful their money is when it is given to a good cause rather than staying in their pocket. Although many may argue that these people are billionaires – so what is a million given to charity when there are hundreds more millions in the bank – the principle is the same. Next time you are out and see a charity donation box, ask yourself are your two or three cents going to do more good in that box or in your wallet?
Another quality that each of the leading philanthropists have in common is that they are all committed to their charity work. So much so that many have even pledged to give at least half of their fortune to charity by becoming part of the Giving Pledge, set up in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates. Amongst the pledgers is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wifePriscilla Chan. Again, even if your income is significantly lower than that of these philanthropists, you can still commit to helping a good cause. Whether you commit to donating a few dollars a month to your favorite charity or even commit your time by helping out at a homeless shelter for a few hours each week, committing to helping those in need is another valuable example to follow.
Putting Others First
Many of these philanthropists put the needs of others first before their own. When Bill Gates retired from his position as CEO of Microsoft in 2000, rather than retire and enjoy his fortune, he vowed to dedicate the rest of his life to philanthropy and raising money for good causes. So far, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is worth billions of dollars, and has helped to fund a number of high-profile cases such as research for the eradication of malaria. Putting others first and being unselfish is a valuable lesson that can be applied to a number of different circumstances. Many people still see charity and those in need as being a nuisance – for example those who walk past the homeless on the street.
What have you learned from the leading philanthropists?