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Three Obstacles Keeping You From Philanthropy & How To Deal With Them

by | Paying It Forward

Stating your intention to do philanthropy is an action where you can expect little resistance or disagreement.To say you want to allot precious time to serve others, in one way or the other, is a commendable act that will likely be met with approval and applause. Despite all this, many still look at altruism with doubts and suspicion. In fact, if you are feeling some apprehensions about philanthropy, you are definitely not alone. A research survey even shows that 35% of Americans do not trust charitable institutions. The following points offer suggestions to deal with three common obstacles that prevent people from doing philanthropy:

“My efforts will hardly matter.”
Philanthropy tends to sound like a big word that always requires gigantic moves, such as starting your own foundation or donating a hefty sum of money. This kind of thinking can be discouraging for people with very limited resources. Others would also forgo the chance to help a cause with the thought that their small action will hardly make a difference. People who think this way forget the fact that a single powerful action is usually a product of a collaborative effort. A tall building is not built by a single man, it usually takes years of team effort and commitment. A table will not be able to stand if one of its legs is broken or missing. It means that in a group, each person has an important role to play. Never underestimate what you can do as an individual. It may be hard to see its immediate effects, but your small effort or contribution can do more than you can ever imagine.

“Philanthropy will serve as a distraction.”
Life can get busy, so it is easy to say you have no time for philanthropy. People who are focused on meeting a goal may fear that spending time to do charity work will steer them away from their more important aim. You may think you will have more time for philanthropy much later in life. Or you will prioritize your goals and help yourself first, before others. However, some causes require immediate attention that cannot wait. Saying no to helping now may mean not helping ever.  Besides, the true essence of altruism is lending help when someone needs it, not only when it’s comfortable for you to do so. Philanthropy can be a refreshing break from your journey towards the goal you wish to accomplish. Sometimes, instead of being a distraction, altruistic activities can even be a stepping ladder to success.  

“Philanthropy teaches people to be lazy and dependent.”
Some people shun philanthropy because of the criticism that it will not address the root of the problem. Moreover, others fear it can even aggravate the situation because it teaches people to be dependent and lazy. There may be some truth to this, but it is still not a reason to stop helping. Charitable organizations can prevent dependency by offering assistance that will teach people to fend for themselves. As they say, philanthropy should teach people to fish, rather than doing the fishing for them.

In spite of all the rewards that come with philanthropy, many people feel still feel a tinge of hesitation when it comes to altruism. However, allowing doubts to hinder you from spreading goodwill to others is wasting an opportunity to make a positive difference to other’s lives, and to yourself. It is also turning your back on a chance to experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment that is hard to get anywhere else.

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