Anyone can be a philanthropist

Some of the most impactful philanthropy can be found in the small gestures that make up a much bigger picture

Philanthropy; many of us can trip up when saying it, or feel the need to go back and check when spelling it – but can anybody do it?

Usually defined as the activity of helping others, especially by giving money, philanthropy is practised in most religious traditions and remains a defining feature of civilised societies. And, whatever your motivation for embracing it, research tells us that we feel better when we make it a regular part of our lives.

In fundraising, we’re used to witnessing people step up and make meaningful gifts to the causes they care about. What’s more, we know that thoughtful, considered giving is a universal activity that doesn’t just apply to the rich and powerful. In fact, some of the most impactful philanthropy can be found in the small gestures that make up a much bigger picture. For example, at Kenilworth School, Campaign Manager, Sarah Taylor-Watts, is taking the Extra Campaign closer to target by securing gifts at the lower end of the scale. “Parents and grandparents are coming on board with gifts of £500 over three years - less than the price of a cup of coffee a week,” says Sarah. “Others are realising they can make a tangible difference and become a valued stakeholder in the project by sponsoring a classroom or naming designated areas of the new building.”

Fundraising and fasting at Bradford Hospitals’ charity

At Bradford Hospitals’ Charity where the focus is soon to be on a major capital campaign to fund family accommodation for the Neonatal Care Unit, philanthropy amongst the staff is thriving. During Ramadan, Muslim colleagues at the Trust were offered ‘Fast Packs’ containing dates, water and a disposable prayer mat. They were also provided with a Pop- Up Prayer Room Operational Pack (PROP), so that managers could promote a wider understanding of Ramadan and designate specific locations for prayer and breaking fast. Those who weren’t observing Ramadan were invited to choose one day to fast in solidarity with colleagues and donate the price of their lunch to the Charity.