Create a Legacy That’s Personal to You
Defining your philanthropic legacy can sometimes feel intimidating and out of reach, especially given the common misconception that the measurement for charitable impact is the dollar amount of your financial gift. In reality, there are many approachable and fulfilling ways to leave a lasting legacy and experience the true joy and fellowship of giving. The key is to take a holistic approach that taps into your unique relationships, passions, interests and resources. Writing a check is important, but that’s not the only lever to pull to leave your philanthropic mark. Harness your intellectual, human and social capital—as well as your financial capital— to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Here’s how.
• Donate intellectual and human capital. Donating your skills, experience, and time can be a powerful way to support the causes you care about most. For example, do you have skills honed at work? Fluency in multiple languages? Specialist knowledge developed through hobbies? Athletic abilities that could be shared through coaching? You will maximize your impact by thinking broadly about what you can contribute to the organizations that align best with your values.
• Donate social capital. One of the best ways to scale your philanthropic impact is by collaborating with others. As an example: Join or form a “giving circle” to pool charitable resources with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. Giving circles attract members who are excited to work together to support causes under a unifying theme. For instance, together you might focus on a given population, such as women and girls; a place, whether a nearby neighborhood or far-off locale; or a pervasive issue, such as racial inequity.
The key is to take a holistic approach that taps into your unique relationships, passions, interests and resources.
• Donate financial capital. Individual donors are incredibly important to an effective and sustainable nonprofit sector, accounting for two-thirds of annual donations made to charitable organizations. Yet even experienced donors can feel unsure or apprehensive when considering a financial gift to an organization that is new to them. Perhaps you are drawn to support the mission of an organization mentioned in your social media or suggested by a friend. For an organization you don’t know well, take the time to develop a personal connection to feel confident in your giving.
Rick Barragan is the Managing Director, Los Angeles Market Manager, for J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
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