Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

How to maximize my postive impact on the world by sylvng
March 31, 2009, 6:03 pm
Filed under: General Charity Musings | Tags: , , ,

As a Business Intelligence (BI) professional with a bent towards doing good I’ve always this personal debate. What should I do to increase my positive impact on the world:
1. Continue in the BI field and donating the money I make to charity or
2. Switch careers to work full time on charitable works?

To make full use of my education and experience #1 has always seemed more attractive, especially since I would probably make a lot money doing BI for for-profits than I would doing anything else for non-profits. However, there is the question of how much money I’m willing to part with once it’s in my hands (I’d be first to admit weakness on this front). And as much as I love BI, I find less satisfaction and connection giving my money away than volunteering for charities. In case you’re wondering, that’s how Charity CHAMPS started – I decided to work on something charitable while still keeping a career in BI.

Of course, there’s lots of successful entrepreneurs who have made their riches and have set up foundations to give back; from the famous ones, like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Omidyar Network, to less known ones, like the Roddick Foundation funded by The Body Shop’s founder Anita Roddick. While I don’t think I’ll ever have the fortunes that these people have to work with, their model has proven to work out. In general people give more time earlier on in their lives, and give more money later on. However, I feel that this model may be based on convenience (due to stage of life), and has less to do with maximizing impact. Time is money after all, and who can accurately compare the impact of my $1 dollar donated now towards disaster relief vs. what $10 can do 10 years from now if I wait and collect interest on the $1 instead of donating it now?

So the question remains. Should I follow in the entrepreneurs’ footsteps, amass some money and then give back? Or work on the front line?

I don’t think there will ever be a “right” answer to this one. Anybody out there with the same thoughts as me?

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