You may have heard of the term “servant leadership.” This blog focuses on "selfless leadership" and its importance in our personal philanthropy. For those not familiar with the term, let me first explain a little bit about what it is.

Selfless leadership is all about serving others before yourself. It is about serving others so they may each have the chance to achieve their dreams, gain purpose and meaning in their life; and it also helps them understand the “why” they get up in the morning. Selfless leadership is about giving life to others. It is about inspiring them and helping them realize their personal gifts for giving. Then they are motivated to take those gifts and use them to better something in the world as well as the lives of their families.

Selfless leadership is about recognizing the diversity and uniqueness of each individual. And, in turn, each individual’s life story shapes him or her into a unique individual with specific traits and passions, which leads to purpose.

Appreciative Donor Education Process

As you may recall, in a previous blog I shared a personal giving process that connects philanthropic conversations with a roadmap for personal giving. The process is illustrated in the diagram to the right.

Originally, in the referenced blog it was named the Personal Philanthropic Giving Process. I have renamed it the Appreciative Donor Education Process.

The reason for this renaming is that it more clearly reflects the life-giving, strengths-based approach to guiding individual donors to recognize and unleash their own gifts for giving. In addition, it was renamed to reflect its academic evolution and application of the appreciative inquiry process. This process has been applied to other disciplines such as Appreciative Advising for higher education. Several colleges and universities have embraced Appreciative Advising as a successful model.

Hence the Appreciative Donor Education Process is the iterative adaptation of the appreciative inquiry process for the philanthropic sector. More specifically it serves to provide individual donors with the roadmap for smart, effective, and impactful giving to both family and philanthropic causes. It encompasses the iteration of unleashing the life-giving, one-of-a-kind strengths of each individual based on their own life’s journey.

I am sure your life is terribly busy. And you may not even recognize your own strengths and gifts that you have developed throughout your life’s journey—whether that be through your education, professional experiences, skill sets, natural abilities, or specific life events or people you have meet along the way. We do in fact each have strengths and gifts for giving even though we are busy living day to day. In these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, so many people are struggling just to survive, which presents its own set of challenges. While it is in our DNA to give to others --consistent with Maslow's hierarchy of needs—attention is first paid to our personal, basic physical needs and emotional needs. For many, those are the most important critical needs at this time. For those that are fortunate enough to be in a situation where they are indeed assessing how to make a difference in this world at this time, they may not understand or recognize the potential of their own gifts.

That is why I developed the Appreciative Donor Education Process…to provide a roadmap to follow as people learn to unleash the vast giving potential that lies within. The Appreciative Donor Education Process is a tool to help guide each individual to his or her own unique purpose while leveraging their personal gifts for giving to family, neighbors, the community, and beyond.

Why is Selfless Leadership so relevant to the Appreciative Donor Education Process?

So, what about selfless leadership and the Appreciative Donor Education Process? They are a natural fit in that the importance of selfless leadership cannot be overstated as a means of guiding, facilitating, and developing each individual's inherent potential and unleashing that potential to benefit the family, the community, and those passions and causes that are important to them. We now have the process to do just that in terms of the Appreciative Donor Education Process.

If you have ever experienced selfless leadership—either as a participant or a recipient—then you understand the importance of unleashing this great, untapped potential in each individual to give to others. This push and unleashing can create a new movement that is based on each individual’s unique gifts, passions, and strengths which will result in positive change. I’ll call this movement “Donor Philanthropy” —and as Steven Jobs has said—it’s time to think different and start at the grassroots donor level. It is more important now than ever during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a related note, stay tuned for upcoming blogs to learn more about Donor Philanthropy! You also may want to check out and subscribe to our new YouTube channel which will be updated with short videos to learn how to be a better giver of self to Family and charity. After all, we at Aspire to Give ® want to do all we can to help you make a difference in this world.

Let's do some good! - Greg.

Up Next:Taking a Closer Look at Donor Philanthropy


©2020 Aspire to Give®. All Rights Reserved. Greg Doepke is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Financial Planner®. Greg serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Advisors in Philanthropy and as the Philanthropist in Residence at Auburn University’s Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. As the founder of Aspire to Give® Greg educates and equips individuals, families, business owners, and foundations with both traditional and leading-edge philanthropic tools and techniques for smart, meaningful, and impactful giving. You can contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Start Your Giving Journey Today

If you are interested in learning more about Aspire to Give®'s pursuit to advance philanthropy through donor-focused education, social innovation, collaboration, and advocacy, please reach out to Greg Doepke:

Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of all profits to charity and is dedicated to unleashing the human spirit to advance philanthropy through donor education, social innovation, collaboration, and advocacy.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are not representative of the views of ACG Advisory Services, Inc. or the Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia. Each client and prospective client agrees, as a condition of precedent to his/her/its access to Aspire to Give®’s website to release and hold harmless ACG Advisory Services, Inc. and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., their officers, directors, owners, employees, and agents from any and all adverse consequences resulting from any of his/her/its actions and/or omissions which are independent of his/her/its receipt of personalized advice from Aspire to Give® or Gregory W. Doepke.