Passion: Discovering Meaning in Your Philanthropy

What is the place of passion in philanthropy? When it comes to giving and volunteering, we might think of passion as that mix of curiosity, enthusiasm and conviction which takes us beyond an annual contribution into a sustained engagement with an issue, cause or organization. The passion in philanthropy can be expressed in many ways. We all know people who approach everything in their lives with great verve and intensity. There are other people who lead with their intellect and whose life choices are the result of careful thought and preparation, but who are steadfast once decisions and commitments are made. Both types of people are capable of bringing passion to their philanthropy. In reality, most of us fall into neither category, but are always balancing the demands of our heads and hearts. In fact, the best kind of philanthropist is one who is engaged on both the intellectual and emotional levels.

This primer from The Philanthropic Initiative is intended to help you reflect upon your strongest and deepest feelings about what you want to accomplish with your giving, and how this connects to your satisfaction as a philanthropist. The story and examples that follow are composites that illustrate how individuals have identified their philanthropic passions.