Q: How do you know if you are making a difference? A: If you are living your legacy as a voluntary philanthropist, then you are making a difference. It’s only human to question and want to see results, but by what standards should we measure? Believe in your values; lead by example; listen to your heart. You know the world would be less but for the kindness of your actions, your thoughts and your love. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean,” Mother Teresa said. “But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” “Empowerment Cycle” For many, empowerment is not simple, but it is intuitive. To bring clarity to the process, [...]
If you are a strategic giver, you probably don’t wait until the end of the year to make your gifts. A true partnership with an organization means that you give year-round and you have a plan as to how much you give and why. You are a voluntary philanthropist and you use the “REAL” test each time you make a donation of your time, talent or treasure. R: Is my gift Relevant to my values? E: Is my gift one that Engages the heart and well as the mind - does it connect to my passion? A: Can I take Action and is there Accountability from the organization for the impact of my gift? L: Can I Leverage my contribution of time, talent and [...]
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with health and happiness! The December e-newsletter hit inboxes yesterday. If you didn't receive it, visit Margaret-May.com to subscribe. Click here for a link! Stay warm! Margaret May
Our research shows that even though women are very individualistic in their approach to giving, they tend to exhibit identifiable behavioral traits as to how they give. This is a budding area of research, and although it has yet to find its way into the mainstream, it is worthy of note. The giving styles relate to one of four flowers: rose, daisy, carnation, and lily. Some suggest that the theory is an outgrowth of the boomer flower power movement of the 1960s. No one style is dominant, and each serves in one way or another to complement the other three styles. All four styles are necessary for the full potential of virtuous philanthropy. Rose "Rose" women make up a significant [...]
Thank you Spirited Woman for including "Women, Wealth & Giving" as one of your Top 12 Holiday Book Picks! Order soon to receive this book about women and philanthropy in time for the holidays - it makes a great gift! Visit Margaret-May.com for this and other gifts that inspire and empower. Click here to see all 12 books that made the Spirited Woman list.
The stories of our virtuous philanthropists share a common thread, a bond that weaves their lives together even though they may not know each other. The bond is echoed by the late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop. When asked to comment on her decision to sell $150 million of the company's stock and give the proceeds to charity, she said, "They thought that eccentric of me. But you can't take it with you and you're a long time dead." Dame Roddick died in 2007, at the age of 64, from a cerebral hemorrhage, after a long battle with hepatitis C from a blood transfusion, which had gone undiagnosed for several years. She fulfilled her promise to leave [...]
Living Their Passion Each day you find virtuous philanthropists advocating for their causes and inviting others to join them in the experience. There is enthusiasm and determination in their attitude and aptitude to find creative ways to inspire others to follow their lead. They are nurturing to others and disciplined in carrying out the mission of their philanthropic biography. Their positive energy is like a magnet, attracting others to give gratitude for blessings received and the quality of life they work to sustain. They bring vision and virtue to each decision, which is reflected in their actions for a more compassionate world. When Florida Cultural Alliance president Sherron Long talks about philanthropy, she means living her entire life working for [...]
Belief in Their Dreams Virtuous philanthropists have an unshakable faith in their ability and in the capacity of others to achieve and sustain the goals they want their philanthropy to achieve. Their vision is long term, and considers that what is started by one generation may need to be completed by another. They see their life story as an inspiration for others and a legacy of significance for family, friends, and the community. These women bring harmony and balance to their lives and to the lives of others, one person at a time. Beverly Holmes, former senior vice president fr Retirement Services at MassMutual Financial Group, now chair of the Center for Women's Business Research and a member of the [...]
Consistent in Their Values The investments that virtuous philanthropists make through their wealth, wisdom, and work reflect personal beliefs as well as values they feel strongly will create a more just and humane community. The entries in their checkbook registers reflect the issues they support. The money in their investment portfolios is allocated to the corporate and social institutions that practice responsible corporate citizenship in their conduct of business. Volunteer time is specific and focused on the causes that they have identified as important and that reinforce their shared family and community values and the giving of their other resources of money and talent. Business owner and entrepreneur Jody Potts Bond gives us another example of how she puts the [...]
Confident in Their Decisions Every day, virtuous philanthropists reinforce their commitment to the issues and concerns they support by not allowing adversity to drag them down. These perennial optimists lead others through uncharted territory in search of lasting solutions to systematic problems confronting the well being of their world. They remain restless until their goal is met and exceeded. They remain responsible for their actions and yet open to working with others, and are both leaders and followers for the same cause, knowing and respecting all diversity of thought and individualism. Such an example of a confident, virtuous philanthropist is Margaret Smith, CEO of Dormus, one of the San Francisco Bay area’s largest independently owned kitchen and home accessories [...]
In researching for "Women, Wealth & Giving" with my co-author, Niki Nicastro McCuistion, we have found that women, who knowingly choose the path to make a difference in their own unique style through their giving of time, talent and treasure, consistently identify five character traits that guide them on the way to their authentic social and personal legacy. In the next five weeks, I'll explain these character traits right here in this blog. Practicing Inconspicuous Consumption Each day they tell others - by their actions, spoken or not - what their priorities are. Their lifestyles reflect the values they believe are important to support with their resources. Many have found that collaborating with others through inconspicuous consumption and working to meet community [...]
As Director of Planned Giving for the United Way of Martin County Foundation, I recently addressed more than 40 of our affiliated agencies during a meeting to kick off our annual campaign. Instead of giving the history of the Foundation, I read a poem. I believe literature and poetry helps to tell stories, connecting the head and heart. I read the following poem, The Bridge, by Will Allen Dromgoole, because it helps explain who we are, what we do and our vision for the future. Today, I share this poem with you. It helps to explain the importance of giving of ourselves, be it time, talent or treasure, to help build a brighter future for others. The Bridge Will Allen [...]
Here is a link to a recent interview I did for The Wealth Channel. In this clip, I talk about how women play a critical role in charitable giving.
This year is the bicentennial celebration of Margaret Fuller’s birth, an extraordinary woman, (1810-1950) with a global vision of equality and human rights; a guiding light for a generation of women eager to make a difference and leave a legacy. Among her many accomplishments, she was the first woman journalist on Horace Greeley’s New York Daily Tribune and the first editor of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Transcendentalist journal, The Dial. In the side pocket of my purse I carry a rather tattered slip of paper on which several years ago, I wrote one of her sayings, “The especial genius of women, I believe to be electrical in movement, intuitive in function, spiritual in nature.” Every so often, when a flash of impatience enters my [...]
Have you ever noticed how much you get back by giving? It may be your time, your talent, your money or just your full attention when listening to another person talk. Philanthropy really means the love of humankind, and so when we show our love through our deeds, we are being pragmatic about how we want others to receive us. And in doing so it brings joy back to us. De Tocqueville, called this "Self-interest rightly understood," in his 1835 book, Democracy in America. It is a unique American tradition to look out for our neighbor and thus hope they will look out for us when we are in need. There is nothing altruistic about the quid-pro-quot. It just makes [...]