Step into your responsibility. But get comfortable with it first.

Step Into Your Responsibility. But Get Comfortable With It First.

Women are changing things as breadwinners, decision makers, and especially as philanthropists. 

Women view their wealth differently than men do, which means women also give differently. After all, sharing wealth is a great responsibility. Women tend to be more altruistic, selfless, and overall more charitable. 

The philanthropies women choose to devote themselves to help define the rest of their lives, who they are, and what they stand for. It isn’t a simple decision to give away wealth to a cause—it has to be the right cause and it must align with values. It can help to have help when deciding where money might go. 

But before that can happen, one must become comfortable with the responsibility of her privilege including her wealth. 


Before you can effectively give, you need to become comfortable with your new status, new privilege, and new responsibility as a wealth holder.


Risk, Responsibility, and New Wealth

For those who have recently come into wealth and who want to share it, it may be useful to pause before giving. As women, we are natural givers, and we want to help anyone and everyone we can. But before you can effectively give, you need to become comfortable with your new status, new privilege, and new responsibility as a wealth holder.

How do you feel about your wealth?

How do you want to be seen?

What do you want to achieve with it?

What do you want to achieve outside of it?

Thinking about these questions is a safe place to begin. The answers might change from day to day, and that’s okay! But after some time, patterns emerge, which will help you discover your purpose with your philanthropy. 

A trusted advisor can help you align your values with your giving and support the journey to finding your philanthropic purpose. 


Finding Value Through Discomfort

It’s a process to decide with whom to share your wealth, and it isn’t always an easy road to travel. (Easy would be writing checks and passing them out without goals, vision or purpose.)

It takes inner reflection to find out what’s truly important to you, turn inside and stack your values against one another to see which one anchors you time and time again. 

I like to ask people to pick their top 10 values from a list. From there, we reduce their values to five. After that, we cut it down to one—sometimes, this happens quickly, and sometimes it takes time.

We then ask:

Does this value anchor you in all aspects of your life? 

Is this value integral to who you are and what you believe?

Will this one value hold the test of time?


The Privilege of Having Privilege

Women understand that the idea of a merit-based society isn’t the world we live in, not anymore. Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is a myth, and access tends to be what separates us. This is why women can struggle with trying to spread equality and equity with their own wealth—it’s a great responsibility, as well as a privilege, to be able to make change.

Acknowledge that privilege, accept the discomfort, interrogate it, rid it of guilt, and use it for good.


Call it Feminist Philanthropy

There’s a desire to rename Feminist Philanthropy as “strategic philanthropy” or “truth-based philanthropy,” but the truth is that women’s issues affect other issues, and calling it anything other than feminist is disingenuous.

Feminist Philanthropy is really talking to how we can be less about the transaction and more about transformation. We can build relationships and trust, and we can all learn together.

Find where you fit. Get comfortable with your responsibility and use it to make the impact you want to make.