This past Friday, November 4th, was our annual philanthropy event benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Delta House of Pancakes. DHOP is one of my favorite events of the year benefiting one of my favorite charities. It’s a night when we get to open our home to the community and serve them delicious pancakes and have an all around great time while benefiting St. Jude. These events inspired me to write about why people should participate in philanthropy.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of philanthropy is, “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people”. This can be done in many ways that may appear inconsequential to most, but have very large effects. I love philanthropy and volunteer work and anything I can do to help others. Here are some reasons you should as well.
It makes you feel good
I say this and I think of the episode in Friends when Joey tells Phoebe that “there are no unselfish good deeds”. While that statement sounds crazy, the thought process behind it rings true. Doing good makes you feel good. Knowing that you did something to benefit someone that doesn’t directly benefit you as well makes people feel accomplished. It is a very strong source of intrinsic motivation.
It helps others
… duh. I say duh because as defined philanthropy means helping people. But I felt it should be said because it is a significant plus. People always need help, whether they’re a large organization like St. Jude or a local food bank. You giving your time or money will had large scale effects. Donating to St. Jude will in the big picture help save the lives of many children and donating to a food bank will put dinner on the table for a struggling family. Both of these things mean the world to the people you’re helping.
Even the smallest things help
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”- Howard Zinn. One of the best things about being a part of a philanthropic organization is knowing I’m making a difference. Even if I only donate $20, that $20 will still have a large effect. Because there are so many people volunteering or donating that if everyone volunteered for one hour of their day or gave $5, there would be a large amount of time and money going towards something bigger than themselves. A lot of people think that because they are a “broke college student” they can’t make a difference. But I am here to say that that thought process could not be more wrong. Most charity organizations are beyond grateful for anything they can get. Even amounts deemed small by the givers.
You can help in so many ways
There are so many ways to participate in philanthropy. And there is no one way that is better than any others. You can be philanthropic by doing volunteer work for a philanthropy, making donations, do a fun run 5k, or even just through raising awareness for the organization. Doing any of these, any combination of the them, or anything else you can think of will help the organization. Almost anything you can do for the charity is graciously accepted.
If you can’t think of an organization to help, I highly recommend donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a hospital dedicated to researching and treating childhood cancer and other diseases, all free of cost. It costs over $2 million dollars every day to operate St. Jude, 75% of which comes from public contributions. To date, my sorority has raised over $45 million for St. Jude and we are raising more every year. But in perspective, that is only enough money to operate the hospital for twenty-two and a half days.
No matter who you decide to support, I highly recommend doing work greater than yourself and participate in philanthropy.