They say you should do what you love–what motivates you, what inspires you, what helps you become the best you possible. Though many people follow through on this advice, many more don’t. I’m lucky enough that I’ve been able to step into a number of professional roles that have allowed me to do what I love.
Outside of my work, I get actively involved with philanthropic causes that I support. And I don’t do it for the tax write-off or the ability to pat myself on the back. I do it because I’m passionate about helping others–and you should be too.
Getting involved with philanthropy is one thing. It’s easy to write a check. It’s easy to sign a slip of paper indicating that you want $25 from every paycheck to go towards helping…someone. It’s easy to make these sort of philanthropic donations that are written off, signed for, and done. You don’t know where the money is going nor who it’s helping. It’s another thing–a completely different thing–to really try to make a different. To find that philanthropy you’re passionate about. To find a cause worth helping, worth supporting, and worth your time.
I found my personal passions–helping children, funding educational endeavors and putting time and money towards causes like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through my personal life and experiences. These were people and organizations that I aligned with, that I truly cared and felt passionate about. Finding your own philanthropic passion helps to facilitate a more meaningful connection. So how do you do it?
The short answer is by researching. Find your passions and research how you can get involved–if you’re passionate about helping animals (as my father, Anatoly Vanetik, is), research animal shelters in your area. Then, coordinate some visits and find out how you can get involved. By finding an organization that allows you to pair your passion for philanthropy for your passion for what’s around you, you’ll find it more fulfilling, and perhaps even start an annual tradition.
In the end, a check coming from someone who only marginally knows and cares who he’s helping, and one from a passionate philanthropist looks no different. There’s no discernable variations between the two checks and, once cashed or deposited, the money will look the same too. The passion that you may or may not have for helping others is intrinsic, but moldable. Find what you’re passionate about and make a real difference. Donate, volunteer and reach out when you can. Helping those that you care about and finding your philanthropic passion will help form a mutually beneficial relationship that should last forever.