The Skill Set: 8 Philanthropy Tips For Millennials

Hitha Palepu, the co-founder of Bridge2Act, gears us up for Giving Tuesday on November 29th.

"Millennials are, as a whole, inherently philanthropic," says charitable entrepreneur Hitha Palepu. "They're giving upwards of $500 a year in small chunks of $5 to $25.” That’s why Bridge2Act, the digital platform she co-founded to make discovering and donating to causes easy, is such a genius, can't-believe-this-never-existed concept. She's teaching the Gen Y'ers among us her tips on taking action. The Skill Set: 8 Philanthropy Tips For Millennials

The Skill Set: 8 Philanthropy Tips For Millennials

1. Start small

People think giving back has to be this big, audacious thing, like writing a huge check or cleaning up an entire building or block. It can be as small as setting up a recurring donation on a charity’s website for five dollars a month or donating old clothes to be sold on Schoola, which then sends the money to amazing organizations like the Malala Fund. Small actions can lead to very big results. 

2. Avoid saturation

It’s very easy to get sucked into a Facebook or Instagram black hole, so set aside time each day to read and consume information about what's going on in the world. We're also following way too much on a regular basis, so have certain feeds that you physically force yourself to
check—I visit Vox and The Washington Post every morning. 

3. Pick a focus

Go to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals website and figure out what one goal you’re most passionate about. It keeps you from being intimidated or inundated by all the opportunities to take action around you. When you’re hyper-focused on the problem you’re trying to solve in the world, it allows you to say, “I want to focus on gender equality or the environment or animal welfare.” Keep that one thing in mind and have that be your
North Star.

4. Be conscious of what you spend

We’re so quick to buy that coffee, extra lunch item or treat. Pick one day a week when you'll do something different with that money—whether it's giving it to a homeless person on the street or making a
donation online. 

5. Don't be intimidated by large-scale problems

After seeing people name foundations that are curing malaria in Africa and AIDS all over the world, you might say, “Well, what can I do? I have nothing to offer on this scale so I’m just not going to do anything.” It takes everyone being part of the solution to eliminate these big problems. It doesn’t just come from Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffett. 

6. Don’t rush it

Just like when you meet a good friend or significant other for the first time, make sure the organization or cause gives you butterflies. To find a cause you care about, following nonprofits on social media is a great way to get to know them. I like to call it the dating period—where you get an idea of not just the work they’re doing, but also of the people that choose to work there and dedicate their life to the organization.

7. Know where your money is going

Read the letters that every director or founder of an organization writes at the beginning of an annual report. It will give you a clear sense of who that person is and why they are doing what they are doing. Do a Google search to make sure a nonprofit hasn’t been flagged for any kind of fundraising or ethical violations. 

8. Make a connection

The most effective way to spread the word is to start talking about it in an individual way, rather than a mass way. With social media, you can share one message and it gets amplified to many people, but your message gets lost in the ether of everybody else’s messages. Make it personal. Talk to five people in your circle of friends and family who you admire and respect, that you think can help.


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Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Photographer: Kenneth Grzymala