Five Ways to Make an Impact as a Young Philanthropist

We’ve created a great community of young philanthropists here at Spark. But getting involved in our organization isn’t the only way to be an engaged, young philanthropist. There are lots of ways to contribute to your local and global community that can have a lasting impact.

To help our Sparkles out, we’ve created a list of five ways you can get started on your path as a young philanthropist:

1)    Hours            

This is the most obvious. You don’t need a lot of money to be a young philanthropist. Find out what moves you and if you can’t give cash, give hours! Tons of organizations are ready and willing to accept volunteers eager to give their time. You will likely need to go through training, and while that may take a while, you’re guaranteed to meet some like-minded folks dedicated to improving their communities while gaining an even deeper understanding about the organization.

If you’re really keen on giving money, one way to budget it that might be easier than a one-time gift of, say, $1,000, is to donate a little bit each month. I signed up for a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood so many years ago I forget that it even pulls $20 from my bank account every month. While $240 a year doesn’t seem huge, we do know that every dollar counts; and when you consider what that number looks like after ten years – $2,400 – it’s a pretty good chunk of change towards a cause I care deeply about.

2)    Turn Gifts to You into Gifts for Others

Have a birthday, wedding, or other celebration coming up that traditionally has the host receiving gifts? Think about a donation registry instead. If you’re getting married, give your guests the option of donating to an organization or cause that’s meaningful to you. Do the same in lieu of presents at your next birthday.

3)    Talk – Digitally and in Person

I found out about Spark from my old roommate. I recruited members when I moved to New York because I couldn’t stop talking about what a great organization it is – not only did I do this one on one with friends, but by posting and promoting on social media and blogs. Virtual communication is a big part of getting the word out these days, and it can spread the cause really quickly. Talking through an organization’s mission, beneficiaries, policies, and impact can strengthen your commitment and improve the depth of your understanding of issues it addresses. Plus, you never know who in your network is equipped to and may want to make a big donation based on your inspiring and impassioned words!

4)    Start a Movement

I LOVE Spark’s origin story. A group of young women were finding it difficult to get their foot in the door in development and philanthropic spaces in the Bay Area, coming up against the Catch-22 of needing experience to get involved but not being able to get experience because they were prevented from getting involved. Did they give up? Nope. They started their own fundraising, awareness-raising, educational organization by gathering together each of their networks and friend groups, who were all hungry for the same passionate involvement, and it grew into what is now the largest millennial philanthropic member-based organization around. What’s stopping you?

5)    Party.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
Come to the Black and Pink! Are you too busy to figure out points #1 or #4? Nothing on the docket in terms of point #2? Too worn out from chatting to drum up the energy for #3? Well, then buy your ticket for the Black and Pink here, re-energize your efforts at our soiree, and know that all the proceeds will be going to our fantastic grantees. That many of you helped select!


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