By Demetris Constantinou, Contributor
Charity is important for all of us, athletes or not, as it allows us to take a step back from what we passionately do and share our success with those in need. However, there are effective and less effective ways to engage in philanthropy and they need to be closely considered. Good news is, there are already established athlete philanthropists out there who have set a path to pursuing charity the right way. Of course, charity can take many forms and there’s no right or wrong means of charity, but there are fundamentals that need to be followed when athletes wish to give to the less fortunate. In this article we will observe ways through which athletes can more effectively and more strategically, give to those in need, so as to maximize the impact of their charity.
Before jumping into the ways of engaging onto charity, it’s important to discuss the means by which you pursue charity. As an athlete, you may formalize your charity efforts by establishing a foundation. As mentioned above, this is no recent news, charity foundations such as The LeBron James Family Foundation and Michael Phelps foundation have been around for years and they effectively serve their purpose. The main reason athletes establish foundations is because foundations help them build a legacy that ends up being more important than what they do in the field and keeps them ‘alive’ after they retire. In addition, foundations are being used as platforms to deliver a cause or a message that athletes wish to convey according to what they care about. Finally, on a more commercial aspect, foundations can help athletes build their reputation in the community and in turn this may lead to more publicity and make them more valuable to their teams.
Of course, other than setting up a foundation, there is a multitude of ways of helping out the less fortunate. Below, we delve into different ways of pursuing philanthropy accompanied with a discussion of their effectiveness:
1) The simplest and most common way of charity is to donate money to an already established and reputable foundation. Nevertheless, in this case you’re not taking proactive measures to help certain groups, or solve a specific issue, but you’re rather giving money to another organization and you let them decide how they deal with that money. Of course, any charity is good and has an impact, but not giving your personal signature to your charity means that you may not associate yourself directly with a cause that you are passionate about!
2) A highly effective means of charity is to become an ambassador of a charity organization and follow the example set by Serena Williams. The famous tennis player is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who has been pursuing charity alongside UNICEF by building schools, helping promote breast cancer awareness and many more. Positioning yourself as the ambassador of such organizations not only enables you to make an impact, but also attaches your name to a charitable brand, consequently lifting your own personal brand.
3) Amongst the most effective ways of charity, emerges from thinking communally rather than globally. Many athletes, including soccer star Neymar Jr. have committed to improving the communities they’ve grown up in, making them a role model to their people. Specifically, through his foundation, Neymar provides clean water to the Brazilian people while giving to thousands of disadvantaged kids in the Brazilian community. It might sound old-fashioned to think at a community rather than the global level, but the truth is that it’s easier and more common to focus your charity towards helping the people that are going through hardships that you’ve had to go through. This not only fulfills the athlete’s need to help their community, but it also aligns well with good branding practices. After all, everybody appreciates and admires a ‘superman’ in a poor community.
4) Finally, what we believe to be one of the most effective forms of charity is the Lebron James model of charity. Through this model, money is provided to empower youth literacy and support children through school and later through college. By helping less fortunate kids go through proper education, you’re essentially giving them the opportunity, as well as the tools to build a brighter future that would not be possible in the absence of education. This form of charity is highly impactful because it’s about changing the course of lives of individuals and encouraging them to work hard towards a better future. What makes this form of charity unique is the fact that you’re not just throwing money at less fortunate people, but you’re rather motivating the younger generation to work hard towards a better future. Furthermore, pursuing such form of charity makes people admire you for giving an opportunity to the less privileged youth not by spoiling them, but through giving them a sense of purpose.
It is important to note that as an athlete, you’re not limited to pursue a single form of charity. Simply put, you can build your own school at your old neighborhood and at the same time you can be a donor at the world’s most well known charity organizations. There’s no right or wrong way of pursuing charity, but there are more and less effective ways of doing so. For more details and assistance you may get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be more than happy to help give direction to your charitable efforts.