One of the most common misconceptions regarding philanthropy is that money is the sole factor that drives results. While money certainly helps serve communities, it cannot change the world alone. Instead, by altering motivations and ways of thinking about philanthropy, people engaged in philanthropy can contribute more meaningfully to philanthropic endeavors.

When it comes to contemplating philanthropy, success is often gauged entirely by money. It is assumed that organizations that bring in large sums of money are successful at assisting large numbers of people. This way of thinking, however, is not conducive to properly achieving the desired impacts; dollars do not necessarily equate to effectiveness. Instead of focusing on money, philanthropists should shift their focus to results. This ensures people and organizations are no longer focusing exclusively on monetary measurements, but instead on measurements that reflect results that determine how organizations have served humanity.

This concept of serving also proves important when effectively considering meaningful philanthropy. Viewing philanthropy as an act of service is useful, as it shifts the focus. Philanthropy then becomes less centered around helping—as helping is inherently condescending and marks the donor as superior—and more on serving. Viewing it this way places determining the needs of others and the ways to best meet those needs at the forefront of the effort.

With this innovative means of viewing philanthropy also comes a necessity for flexibility in philanthropy. While philanthropy has been traditionally viewed as the act of donors giving money to charitable causes, philanthropy doesn’t need to remain stagnant. Recently, more creative forms of philanthropy have begun to crop up, which provides alternative ways for money to be spent. These funds, for example, can now contribute to the direct development and distribution of products that meet the needs of others and can contribute to a better quality of life.

While money certainly aids philanthropic endeavors, money should not serve as the driving force. Instead, philanthropists should focus on the results of their contributions, rather than solely focusing on donating large sums of money for the sake of being charitable. To the same effect, philanthropists should also work toward serving, rather than helping humanity, ensuring they are striving to best meet the needs of humanity.