John Jellinek

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Biggest Mistakes Made by New Philanthropists (Pt. 1)

Philanthropy is a noble pursuit, regardless of your experience with it. If you are new to charitable activity, your fresh ambition can be a huge motivating factor as you work towards your cause or initiative of choice, and this may serve your vision well — after all, a philanthropic project, like any layered process, requires a blend of enthusiasm and foresight.

That said, novice philanthropists should be aware of common pitfalls that can potentially stunt their progress. Here are a few noteworthy mistakes to avoid.

Getting too ambitious too quickly

A major rule of thumb for new philanthropists is to keep your ideas reasonably in check. If you get too broad too quickly, you may spread your efforts too thin and end up hindering your plans before they can even take shape. For starters, focus on a single idea and the process in which that idea will come to life. Over time, as you gain experience on a variety of philanthropic fronts, you will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to expand your plans and look to new horizons.

Limiting your ideas too much

The previous section in mind, do not keep your ideas on too tight a leash; all this will do is bruise your self confidence as a budding philanthropist. Almost any helpful initiative, event, or project begins with a vision that initially seems overwhelming — perhaps impossible — but make sure not to let these fears take too much control. There may be a healthy amount of risk in your plans, but focus instead on the amount of good you will be able to do once your goals have reached fruition. Exercise restraint when logical, but also allow your imagination to have its time in the spotlight.

Sacrificing communication

Your new philanthropic project may have a number of crucial focal points, and initially this can make it hard to allocate your attention effectively. However, communication is one aspect of your plan that you will always want to keep in the foreground; it is a key ingredient to any effective endeavor of this nature. Whether it is project collaborators, volunteer staff members, or those directly benefiting from your project, your success will ultimately remain contingent on strong communicating — as there are typically a lot of moving parts involved with any philanthropic venture.


This post was originally published on johnjellinek.org


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