Celebrating Thanksgiving With Personal Philanthropy in Today’s Leaders

Examine how to grow personal philanthropy in today’s leaders.

In many organizations, the personal trait of giving to others is not often admired by others due to the competitive environment. However, building personal philanthropy in today’s leaders could make organizations to flourish. Businesses that are built on teamwork and supporting others offer an unselfish environment. According to Craig Hickman, author of Mind of A Manager, leaders empower people by creating organizational cultures in which people gain a sense of meaning from their work. Hickman notes, “In our economy and society, the leadership-driven organization fulfills the vital role of breaking with current tradition and past approaches in order to innovate and bring about breakthroughs that benefit everyone. Such organizations can help us find new solutions to old problems in ways that management-dominated organizations never can. This role demands strong leadership.” The article examines how to grow personal philanthropy in today’s leaders.

Leaders must model the way in personal philanthropy, and this giving mindset must be strategic in nature.  James Kouzes and Barry Posner, premier leadership experts and authors of The Leadership Challenge, argue the importance of leaders modeling the way: “When it comes to deciding whethera leader is believeable, people first listen to the words; then they watch the actions…Actions, then, are the evidence of a leader’s commitment.” According to Vanguardcharitable.org, a strategic philanthropist can be defined as “one who follows a long-term giving plan, one that includes a budget, investment strategy, appropriate time horizon, and specific goals for a charitable impact that allow for current and future success.” When most people think about philanthropy, they think about the wealthy among us, such as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Personal philanthropy can be so much more than that. In fact, individuals can have the same philanthropist mindset when giving to organizations or people. Social responsibility is a buzzword in a society demanding more accountability from its corporate citizens. Social responsibility speaks to a company’s stance on the way its managers and employees view their duty or obligation to make decisions that protect, enhance, and promote the well-being of stakeholders and society as a whole. 

Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, argue about the importance of social responsibility: “The way a company announces business problems or admits its mistakes provides strong clues about its stance on social responsibility.” With the economic crisis, there are many institutions in trouble. For example, Noriko Chapman is a prominent manager in Tennessee in the automotive industry. In her co-authored book, Second Chance, Noriko pledged 30% of her book proceeds to the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Maryville, a regional rehabilitation center that provides the following services to adults with disabilities. She was leveraging her expertise to support a local community cause. Noriko’s giving attitude helped the Center’s financial needs. With the current economic crisis and the holiday season before us, citizens should use personal philanthropy as an option to improve society.

Yet, philanthropy must start with a mindset and an attitude for giving regardless of where a person stands on the economic ladder. Marc Benioff, Chairman & CEO of Salesforce.com, built his organization with a philanthropic focus. Salesforce.com is a cloud computing company with a mission of ‘The End of Software.” Benioff has had a history of successful business ventures, including The Oracle Corporation and the Macintosh Division. However, he is noted for the achievement of designing a new philanthropic model. The Salesforce.com Foundation aims to inspire companies across the globe to give 1% of their resources to support charities and social causes. This 1%; 1%; 1% philanthropy model includes 1% of its company’s time, 1% of its equity, and 1% of its products be donated to charity. For Salesforce.com, this model means giving employees 6 paid days of volunteer time to use over the course of the year. To date, Salesforce.com employees have donated over 178,000 hours. Other companies like Google have embraced this model. The following tips can gain an individual toward greater personal philanthropy:

  1. Define your personal goals and values.
  2. Dedicate yourself to a cause that fulfills your life mission.
  3. Research an organization that contains the mission and vision that support your core beliefs.
  4. Meet with key decision-makers of the organization to find out how you can assist the organization (i.e., financial and personal time).
  5. Determine how you are going to ‘act out’ personal philanthropy in the organization.
  6. Set a date for implementing your personal philanthropy.
  7. Monitor and track results for future personal philanthropy.

With the holiday season before us, organizations need a company culture that is more than the status quo. Organizations that have a culture of unselfishness and concern for others will gain a competitive advantage. However, organizations need leaders who model the characteristics of personal philanthropy. The article showed how to grow personal philanthropy in today’s leaders. A philanthropist mindset can carry great rewards in sustaining meaningful programs in society. It is not exclusive only to the wealthiest people. Let’s pray it is not too late to produce in our future leaders.

© 2019 by Dr. Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green:

Dr. Daryl Green provides consulting, guidance, and management training for today’s business leaders. He is the Dickinson Chair at Oklahoma Baptist University. In 2016, he retired as a Senior Engineer and Program Manager with the Department of Energy after a successful career. Dr. Green has over 25 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, please visit http://www.drdarylgreen.com.

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