How to Find Your Philanthropy Personality

December 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Career News and Advice

While it is easy to assume that a term like “philanthropist” only applies to rich and powerful givers, any person can be a philanthropist. The Google definition of a philanthropist is, “A person who seeks to promote the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.” Philanthropy can be practiced through giving money, volunteering time and donating items. Philanthropy, on great and small levels, is an important part of many people’s lives.

The Four Philanthropic Personality Types

A recent article in The Independent identified four basic philanthropic personality types. They are as follows:

The Passionate Philanthropist: The passionate philanthropist has made giving a regular part of daily life. Philanthropy is a priority and is treated as such through words and actions. Passionate philanthropists often extend their efforts beyond the act of donating money or time. They often generate positive public relationships with and raise awareness for their causes. They also recruit others from their personal network.

The New Philanthropist: The new philanthropist is an emerging breed of giver who has plenty of entrepreneurial zest and success. Overflowing with creative energy and optimism, the new philanthropist believes in giving back out of gifts that were received first. This overflow results in the establishment of a new foundation or charity, or with the gift of sustained support for an existing entity.

The Aspirational Donor: The aspirational donor has mixed motives for donating. Principle among these is the desire to connect with new people and network through giving time and money. Another primary motivation is to enhance personal reputation through association with a charitable cause. The aspirational donor can be a significant force in building awareness of charitable efforts —this effect can sometimes outstrip any personal financial contribution they make.

The Year-End Tax Planner: The year-end tax planner is motivated by doing good and reaping tax benefits from charitable giving. This type of philanthropist will give at the end of every year in varying amounts, depending on their estimated annual tax burden.

Find Your Personality Type

As you study these four philanthropic personality types, keep in mind that you may identify with one or more types. This is common; for instance, you may experience increased self-confidence in networking when you witness yourself donating to a cause you care about (aspirational philanthropy) and also appreciate the tax benefits you receive (year-end tax planner). Remember that philanthropy extends beyond financial gifts to the time and awareness you can bring to the cause. Some people have lots of money to give and other people have lots of time or materials. As you learn what you have to offer, you can enjoy your philanthropic efforts as well as maximize their impact.


About the Author:  Allen Ludwig is an author, analyst and philanthropist who enjoys educating others about money and finance. He owes his understanding to one of his longtime inspirations, John Studzinski.


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