Are you accidentally undermining your own values?

Are you accidentally undermining your own values?

Oftentimes, we have a tendency to get in our own way.

We don’t do this on purpose, and most of the time, we don’t even realize that  we are the thing that’s blocking our goal.

When it comes to philanthropy and giving, we need to look at ourselves and all we do from every angle—to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help our chosen cause, because it’s so much deeper than giving money.

Follow the Money

This can be difficult, because to truly give yourself to a cause, you have to take a deep look at multiple aspects of your life.

For example, where does your money come from?

Is it in conflict with your philanthropy?

Are you really dedicated to fighting climate change if a company in your investment portfolio is responsible for deforestation?

Business at its core is about maximizing returns first and everything else after, including values. So, if your chosen philanthropy doesn’t fit with the rest of your life, it can create a split personality of sorts, robbing your philanthropy of its integrity.

Having resources doesn’t make anyone a bad person—so many people don’t truly know where their dollars come from. And this alignment of dollars is a big and nuanced ask, that can’t be achieved in one sitting of decision making. This is a marathon, not a sprint. 


If you’re 100 percent dedicated to a cause, look around, follow your money, and make sure it aligns with your values. 


Learn How Things Really Operate

A friend and valued peer of mine has a very interesting example: you can know everything about hydrogen and everything there is to know about oxygen, but would never be able to predict the qualities of when the two combine to make water.

In other words, if you want to make change, you may need to consider context for the whole picture. If you care about quality education, for example, you probably instantly think of improving schools. But what if the children in that community are food insecure? What if they don’t have internet access or even electricity?

You could have the most beautiful school with all of the bells and whistles, but it won’t help a child who doesn’t have light or clean water. So, in order to feed education, you may need to start with feeding a family.

Have Trust

You must give freely with confidence, and you must trust whom you’re giving your money to. Nonprofits need people to function, and overhead is often their biggest expense. This doesn’t mean they’re wasting your money; it means they’re hiring the best people they can find, making sure their people are taken care of, so they can take care of others.

Don’t  justify your giving in only the numbers either, because that can burden an organization and only uses the narrative of efficiency. 

If a nonprofit is spending more time writing annual reports than they’re spending in the world trying to help, it undermines their purpose.

Let them do what they do best and trust their process.


We give more fully when we do it with an open heart. Don’t let your money restrict you and be its own road block to progress.


Money is a privilege. Giving is a privilege. It’s easy to feel guilty about coming into wealth and having more than those around you.

But you are more than the number in your bank account.

You are more than your investment portfolio.

You are a fully realized person who wants to do good in the world, and no one can stop you from doing that—once you get out of your own way.

Share your thoughts – what has your journey taught you?