Philanthropic people strive to promote the welfare of others through the donation of money, property or services. They come from all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds, but there are several common character traits of philanthropic people who have seen success in their pursuits:

1. They are altruistic.
Philanthropic people show selfless concern for the welfare of others and venture to alleviate the struggles of others without seeking anything for their own personal benefit. Truly philanthropic acts are done without expectation of compensation or recognition of one’s efforts.

2. They are empathetic.
Philanthropists tend to be empathetic toward the struggles of others. They feel an obligation to do what is in their power to combat these struggles because they view the problems and the hurt that comes with them as their own.

3. They have heightened social awareness.
Philanthropic people tend to have great awareness of their surroundings. Not only are they open to opposing views and new ideas, but they also seek to understand the motivations and obstacles of others in order to better understand their needs and how they can best best be satisfied.

4. They are far-sighted.
People who want to make positive change in the world tend to look far into the future. They want to make a lasting impact on society rather than temporarily fixing a problem, and recognize that they must direct their efforts accordingly. They realize that in order to make significant societal change, it is crucial to address underlying structural issues by investing in long-term solutions.

5. They are politically involved.
In order to make structural changes in society, it is also necessary for philanthropists to advocate for political change. That is why many successful philanthropists are known to be advocates. They tend to recognize that while it is important to invest in programs that are shown to produce tangible results, advocacy is also important because it allows progress on a broader scale.

6. They are issue-oriented.
Successful philanthropists seek specific causes to support rather than organizations. They first identify something they would like to see happen in the world and then they go out to look for organizations that can best make this vision a reality. They recognize that specific organizations may be able to tackle one aspect of the problem best and then look for other groups to work on other aspects of the issue. They maintain a holistic view of the issue and use many tools to catalyze these changes.

7. They are business-minded.
Many philanthropic people look at their contributions as investments in society and the economy. They want their money and resources to be used efficiently and in an organized-manner in order to promote self-sustaining change. Accordingly, successful philanthropists look at issues through a business-lens, treating their philanthropic work with the same work ethic as they would their business. Just as they would to promote a business goal, successful philanthropists also capitalize on their resources, drawn upon their networks and use their position in society to promote a cause. This broad view pushes them not to focus solely on contributing to nonprofit organizations, but also to expand their support to for-profit business and legislative initiatives that will propel the cause forward.

– Arin Kerstein

Sources: Academic Impressions, Forbes, Long Beach Business Journal, PC World
Photo: Smarter Finance Journal