Monday, November 28, 2016

My Journey as a Philanthropist: Part 2

by Kat Birkenbeuel, Development Intern


Like most millennials, I have a desire to change the world. Yes, I know it sounds like a vague, lofty goal, but my generation is known for vague, lofty goals like this one. My generation is also known for slacktivism, a term I cringe at the thought of.


I cringe because I know my generation can be lazy and want gratification fast. But, I also know that we are some of the most giving, dedicated, passionate people in our country. Looking back at the past, every generation has seen their young people engage in social justice movements and philanthropic causes. While their funds were limited, their dedication spurred positive change.


I am inspired by the changes driven by past generations and the current work of grassroots organizations and large foundations alike. Yet, I think about the lack of financial resources that I have and wonder how much impact my small donation actually makes in today’s world. I wonder how I can engage in philanthropy with such a small wallet. It’s this weird combination of being inspired to create change, but apathetic because I think I can’t. I am happy to volunteer where I see an immediate effect of my time, but it takes longer to see the impact of a small donation.


As much as I would like to, I can’t afford to drop $100 at once as a donation. I’m a typical recent college grad, broke and living with my parents. However, I do participate in monthly giving. Parting with $10/month is super doable, so I give every month to a cause I love. It’s easy and makes me feel like I’m helping change the world, $10 at a time. At the end of the year, this totals to be a $120 donation! Everything adds up.


There are simple things you can do to save $10/month in order to donate it instead. Here’s what I do:

  • I pack my lunch a few times a week so that someone else can have a meal to eat.
  • I stay at home every once in a while to binge watch TV so that someone else might have a home themselves.
  • I walk to work instead of taking a cab so someone else can learn skills that help them find work.

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving and I hope you’ll make a donation. But we shouldn’t just give on this one day only. Find an organization you love, pledge to donate $10 (or even $5) a month for the next year. Your philanthropy doesn’t end with Giving Tuesday- it begins there.


I’d like to believe millennials can be known as the Giving Generation. That starts by giving small to give big. That starts by engaging in philanthropy.


But it doesn’t matter what generation you’re a part of. History reminds us that we all have the power to affect positive change. What are you going to do?


This is the second part of a four-part series on my journey into philanthropy as a millennial. Read part one.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Kat. There are many ways to change the world. And if we all do it a little at a time, the impact of these contributions can be huge.

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