Why We Need to Stop Taking Philanthropy so Personally

August 17, 2017

 

Unless you are as obsessed with the Nonprofit Sector as we are, you probably didn’t know that today, August 17, is National Nonprofit Day.

 

Look, we get it. Philanthropy probably isn’t the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning. Even the most altruistic among us go through crunch-periods at work, and we all have big expenses coming up. Let’s be honest with ourselves: it’s easy to let philanthropy slip through the cracks, especially if you aren’t currently in a position to donate your hard-earned money, or volunteer your scarce time.

 

As a matter of fact, it’s often tempting to shut out philanthropy altogether. Here’s a perfect example:

 

 

If you watched the clip, I’m willing to bet one of two things happened. If you were particularly inspired, and had a little extra cash, you donated. Far more likely, you now feel bad about yourself for enjoying life while adorable, innocent animals suffer.

 

The emotional connection we share with philanthropy is a primary force driving it forward, but it's also one of the largest forces holding it back. When we directly associate charity with our own personal moral compasses, we can’t help but feel bombarded by the notion that we aren’t doing enough.

 

The Key to Philanthropy: Take the Pressure Off Yourself

 

When we as individuals stop taking philanthropy so personally, we are able to better appreciate how profoundly Nonprofits impact our lives. In addition to all of the incredible organizations that we typically associate with charity, it’s easy to forget that we have the Nonprofit Sector to thank for our public schools, our churches, our public hospitals, our museums, and yes, Wikipedia. It’s easy to forget that nonprofits provide 11.4 million people with jobs, over 10% of the private sector workforce, and that the sector contributes nearly $1 trillion to U.S. GDP, over 5% of total U.S. output.

 

When we as a collective society appreciate the Nonprofit Sector, we will be able to raise it to new heights. The first step? Take the pressure off yourself: you don’t need to right all of the world’s wrongs. The second step is up to you.

 

Happy National Nonprofit Day.

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