Part 4 (cont.): PASSION INTO ACTION – Philanthropic Efforts/Local Causes

If under Career Action Path, you answered that you did not need to make a financial living out of your passion then your action path could potentially involve philanthropy/causes.   It can be a way of following your passion that is more structured than a hobby but potentially more flexible than a career. Or you could pick this pathway because philanthropy in itself could be something you are passionate about.

The stumbling block here, can be not knowing how to get involved, or what to get involved in.  Philanthropy can be broken down into nine different categories. Take a look at the categories below and think about where your passion would best fit, as well as, which category you feel the most connection with.

1. Animals

2. Arts, Culture, Humanities

3. Education

4. Environment

5. Health

6. Human Services

7. International

8. Public Benefit

9. Religion

There are also various ways to be involved in causes. You can be an active member, a sponsor, a donator of goods/services, or a board member. For those of you with a background in business: project planning, management, budgeting – you could be well sought after to sit on a board. Boards are usually in need of talent and experience in those areas and yet they can’t afford to pay for it.  If your pathway  is one that involves philanthropic efforts, at the top of the next page of your notebook write “PHILANTHROPIC ACTION PLAN”.  Now you need to start sketching out what that framework looks like. Which of the above listed philanthropic categories are you most interested in? Then dig a little deeper and think of what theme under that category you are most passionate about. Write a line or two that would best define the area in which you would most like to be involved.

Example: Volunteering at a pet shelter, working to help find new homes for dogs.

In order to put your passion into action, you need to come up with a list of possible local causes/volunteer organizations. Write down the sub-category “Network”. Take the category you chose above and do an internet search, look in your local phone book, and get information from your local town hall to create a list for yourself of possible groups to get involved with where you could find ways to incorporate your passion. Also, think of anyone you may know of that could give you advice on ways to get involved with your chosen cause.


Local Chapter of the ASPCA

Local Dog Shelters

Adopt a Dog Services

Local Vet/Dog Groomer – for advice

Now, being as creative and action-oriented as you can be, describe how you can share your passion with the cause you have chosen. The more personalized and unique you can be with your action plan, the more this plan will be self-defining for you. You could just choose to be a volunteer at a local senior center or your plan could be devising an intergenerational project where you volunteer to arrange to have pre-school students visit a local senior center to have the seniors read to them. Write the sub-heading “Action Plan Steps”.  Under that write an overview of your action plan and then formulate your first few action steps involving your Networking or Cause contacts, to help get your plan off the ground.


Help to find new homes for dogs that are currently housed in my local pet shelter.

1. Contact my local pet shelter and ask about volunteer opportunities.

2. Look at my schedule and see where I have free time to volunteer for these opportunities.

3. Talk with the manager/owner of the pet shelter and discuss how they find new homes for their dogs.

4. Brainstorm with friends in the community about new ways you can help the shelter make the community more aware of these adoption efforts.

5. Talk to town officials about community days in your town. Are their opportunities to showcase some of these sheltered dogs during the events.

The action-plan list would continue. You need to be as specific as possible. Once you come up with your list, break any large steps down into sub-steps. Make sure you include steps that will make this plan “a reality” for yourself, no matter what that might be. For instance, in the above example, it doesn’t help to create the book if you don’t have steps in your plan to  share it with anyone. At the end of the day a passion is just a dream unless you take actionable steps to make it a reality.

Posted on February 20, 2012, in HUMAN RESOURCES - The Road to Self-Rediscovery. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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