Giving back as a professional athlete is no longer a choice. People expect athletes and influential brands to give back to their community. But just because you are expected to give back doesn’t mean you should jump into anything that makes a difference. Follow these important steps to start finding your philanthropic focus and make an impact.
One: Start by considering what matters to you. If the cause or initiative is not authentic, it’s tougher to prioritize. Make a list of things that matter to you and the issues or problems that could be solved or assisted by your influence. Take time to think about what matters to you. Once you find a focus, it’s important to stick to it and integrate it into your brand. For that reason, you should take your time when making a decision. Speak to a trusted mentor, friends and advisers to discuss whether or not the alignment will work with your brand to cultivate maximum impact.
Two: You don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) create your own foundation. A non-profit organization requires paperwork, accountability and most of all consistency. It’s also important to measure your impact, evaluate data and fundraise. If you aren’t ready to be consistent with your programming or don’t have the right people in place to maintain accountability for the legal and financial paperwork, then avoid starting a foundation. A non-profit requires manpower and experts.
Three: Look at the non-profits and organizations that already exist. Why recreate the wheel when a worthy organization is out there doing the work? If you find an organization who is doing great work for a cause you are passionate about, reach out to them and have a discussion about creating a partnership. You can start small- attend an event or fundraiser. Support an initiative they are promoting via social media. Or just start by giving a small donation to a specific program they run. Once you feel comfortable with the organization and know it’s a good fit for you, then you can reach out about creating a sustainable partnership to make a long-term impact.
Four: Surround yourself with experts that can help you. Have you ever heard the saying “If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room?” That definitely applies to your entrance into philanthropy or wherever your next chapter takes you. Make sure you have experts in the field that you can count on to advise you and help you avoid common pitfalls. The people you surround yourself with will contribute to your success, so make sure they are people who are experienced and can help make your goals a reality. Here are some of our recommended experts.
Five: Enjoy the process and enjoy the experience. A philanthropic project is a job but it should be a meaningful and enjoyable one. Don’t let it become a chore!
With these tips, you can start to create a philanthropic focus that works with your brand. Need to talk it over? Reach out to us to discuss and let our experience in the industry benefit your future impact on the community.