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In my previous blog, I shared my thoughts about seven key beliefs of donor philanthropy. In formulating the seven beliefs, it occurred to me that people may want to know why donor philanthropy and the seven core beliefs are so important to each of us — to our families, our communities, and our nation.

Similar to Parenting

It occurred to me that the best way to emphasize the importance of being the best we can be as individual philanthropists, or the giving of oneself to great causes, is to compare being a philanthropist to our role as parents and grandparents.

Think about it. Of all the skills and education and roles that we accumulate over a lifetime, being a philanthropist is very similar to the role of parenting.

If you reflect on your own life’s journey, you can see how important the role of parenting is in the development of the individual. Parents serve — rightly or wrongly, justly or unjustly — as your child’s first teachers, guides, sources of wisdom, models, and mentors. Parents provide the moral compass for the child, especially during the formative years.

No Training

But for the most part, there are no all-encompassing courses for parenting. As a parent, the parenting you display is quite often a result of the parenting you received and the mentorship and life lessons you learned.

There is no college-level Parenting 101 that you take in school or college. If you were blessed to have been born of parents who acquired the skills of parenting, then you are truly blessed indeed!

We are all philanthropists, whether we realize it or not. Like parenting, there is no real course that teaches us how to use our inherent accumulated gifts for giving our talent, time, treasure, and trust for good and for those causes and passions that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.

Building Ourselves to Be Guides and Teachers

So becoming a philanthropist is like becoming a parent. We need to be the best guide and leader for others that we can be.

Let’s go back to the seven core beliefs of donor philanthropy. Donor philanthropy provides the core foundation, and the seven beliefs serve as a foundation from which we can build ourselves into becoming better — both as leaders of self and others — through selfless leadership that awakens and unleashes the giving potential of each individual.

Being a good parent is like being a good philanthropist. Both require that we take the time to learn from our life experiences, gain education when we can, and find mentors and guides that can show us the way.

Recognize Your Influence

In summary, parenting and being a philanthropist are analogous. They are both core life skills for which we receive no formal education. Many times we lack these skills in our current society.

To reach our full potential - as parents, grandparents, and philanthropists - we need to recognize the influence we have with others, note our lack of training and formal education, and take the steps necessary to find the education, guides, and role models who can help us become better as parents and philanthropists. This understanding is why the seven core beliefs of donor philanthropy are so important.

So, stay tuned to future blogs that will help you become a better philanthropist and a better version of yourself. Meanwhile …

Let’s Do Some Good!


Up Next:Fundraising in COVID-19 Times - Donor Cultivation


©2020 Aspire to Give®. All Rights Reserved. Greg Doepke is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Financial Planner®. Greg serves as the Philanthropist in Residence at Auburn University’s Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies; as well as on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Advisors in Philanthropy. As an author and founder of Aspire to Give® Greg empowers individual donors with the road-map and know-how to give more effectively and gain more meaning from their generosity. You can contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to charity.
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.