Philanthropy has been around for ages, and with it comes many misconceptions. These myths prevent many potential philanthropists from joining the fray, as well as deterring many individuals from giving in general. In order to make a real change in the world, these myths need to be addressed so people stop fearing philanthropy and instead embrace it. Here are some of the most popular philanthropy myths.
Fundraisers Are Thieves
A popular joke about people who work for fundraisers is that everyone should hide their wallets when that person walks into the room. This simply isn’t the case. The lack of respect for fundraising as a profession has caused a high turnover rate, and if this myth continues, it will make talented individuals less likely to want to become fundraisers. Of course, things such as pay do play a role in turnover as well, but it’s imperative that individuals outside of the realm of philanthropy understand that fundraisers are not going to try and ask for your money at every step.
Philanthropy is a Transaction
A big problem with philanthropy is that people feel they can make one donation, and that’s it. Many individuals believe that by volunteering somewhere for an hour or maybe donating money to a charity will cause great change. In truth, philanthropy is more about the big picture. Philanthropy’s goal is to ultimately eradicate things such as homelessness or world hunger and to create a movement. A term known as “slacktivism”, or the willingness to perform relatively costless displays of support has recently been coined by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. They found that the more visible the support one can make to an organization, the less the supporter would actually give, and they feel slacktivism is what’s to blame. In order to make real change in the world, we must think holistically. Instead of giving a homeless person money, donate to an organization whose goal is to get rid of homelessness across the board. It’s more than just giving once and calling it a day.
Less Overhead Means A Better NonProfit
Many believe that the fewer costs for a nonprofit, the better. This myth exists because, in many people’s minds, that’s more money that can be going towards whatever good cause that nonprofit is working towards. This myth directly connects to the high rate of turnover mentioned previously as well. Fundraisers aren’t getting the pay they deserve because many organizations choose to put their focus towards overhead. When low overhead is what’s praised, it sends donors and nonprofit leaders the wrong message. By focusing so much on cutting costs, you miss the point of philanthropy as a whole. It’s not just about running a lean business.
The field of philanthropy is littered with myths, and it’s imperative that they’re busted, otherwise real change can never happen.