You might have heard many development professionals talking about the culture of philanthropy – but what does that mean? And how can one achieve it?
The definition of it can vary from organization to organization, depending on its size, sector, and existing initiatives. But at its core, having a culture of philanthropy implies that one should have a community of people committed to helping and supporting relevant stories to enhance each other’s well-being.
A community effectively engaged and steeped in philanthropic values can be considered a living force. It is robust and autonomous, enabling one to engage in new possibilities.
Consider Chandra Bhanu Satpathy – one of our time’s best scholars, spiritual thinkers, and humanitarians. As an Indian Cultural Ambassador, Satpathy is also one of the few individuals who has shown significant progress in his philanthropic work.
Dr. Satpathy is the Founder and Chairman of the Shirdi Sai Global Foundation. To him, a temple is not only meant for worship but is also meant for giving help to the needy and the distressed people suffering from hunger and sickness. Under his guidance, many temples ran dispensaries and fed the poor regularly. Satpathy has also focused its role on helping to provide relief and rehabilitation work in flood-affected areas of the State of Uttarakhand in 2012, Jammu & Kashmir in 2014, and the cyclone-affected areas of the State of Odisha in 2013.
Dr. Satpathy is also the Founder and Chairman of the CBS Cultural Foundation in 2021, responsible for treating SARS-CoV-2. Under his leadership, the foundation donated more than 20 oxygen concentrators to Odisha State Medical Corporation Ltd. He is also the founder of the Sai Kripa Bangla Sansthan, Kolkata – a charitable trust that focuses on a wide range of activities that include skill development, especially for widows and women who are socially weaker sections of their society. He also provides financial assistance to Starship Foundation, Auckland, and Lily Foundation.
As a professional philanthropist, he believes that if one must involve their community in philanthropic values, one must create a robust framework for it, which is why your energy must go into these five pillars – inclusion, transparency, empowerment, collaboration, and finally, celebration.
It begins with letting community members know that they belong. A single community can contribute differently but equally. Working together can yield better results and improved efficiency. Suppose all community groups are united with a mission, vision, and value. In that case, they can each serve the institution in a much more complementary fashion. Additionally, regular meetings should be between the development and relevant departments, including cross-functional projects.
This is the next step towards solidifying inclusion because it works on building trust. Nobody wants to be a part of something they don’t rely on. Hence, transparency is crucial to cultivating a culture of philanthropy because people need to know that their capital is being used in a way they think it is, that it is being utilized responsibly, and what impact they are creating because of it.
Next comes giving the public more authority and autonomy – in other words, giving them a voice. It begins with giving people the responsibility of being a part of the whole thing by giving them the proper knowledge and tools to participate. The more empowerment you facilitate, the stronger your community will become with time.
When groups effectively collaborate, they can actively build social capitals and bonds that inspire results that surpass those that can be achieved solo. Additionally, cross-functional collaboration can be very effective as it can converge diverse personalities with different areas of expertise, thus creating unique approaches to problem-solving.
This pillar represents the authentic expression of appreciation. After going through every pillar, you will have a reason to celebrate by the end. Celebrations can be simple social media posts or even significant events highlighting their actions. By acknowledging the efforts of everyone on a broad scale, you can create a higher likelihood that others will want to join in on that experience.