Creating a Lasting Legacy: 7 Ways to Harness Success for the Greater Good
Your journey through life has been a prosperous one, and you’re not one to shy away from acknowledging your good fortune. In fact, you’re eager to utilize your success for the betterment of society; you’re ready to leave a legacy.
Even if you feel that you still have much to contribute to the material world, it’s never too early to contemplate the legacy you’ll leave behind. You have numerous options, both in the present and the future. Here are seven avenues to consider right now.
1. Launch a Purpose-Driven Nonprofit
While it’s an undertaking that requires substantial effort, establishing your own nonprofit organization is an extraordinary way to have an immediate and personal impact on your community. It allows for a more hands-on approach than simply writing a check to an existing organization, even if your missions closely align. Remarkable entrepreneurs have taken this path, such as Steve Streit, founder of Patti’s Way, dedicated to bestowing “random acts of kindness” like his mother, and Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, who established the Craig Newmark Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund to support charitable and social entrepreneurship endeavors.
2. Set Up a Donor-Advised Fund
If starting your own charity seems daunting, you can explore a donor-advised fund. This approach enables you to select the charities you support without requiring hands-on involvement. It’s the perfect balance, allowing you to maximize your impact while still managing your daily responsibilities.
3. Donate When Decluttering
Accumulating wealth often leads to accumulating belongings. You may find yourself surrounded by excess possessions waiting for a new purpose. Whether you’re downsizing, organizing, or retiring, you don’t need to discard these items; instead, consider donating them to purpose-driven charities that can directly benefit from your contributions. Organizations like Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity are ideal choices for different types of donations.
4. Transition Your Business to B-Corp Status
For those without the time to donate or individuals focused on building their businesses, consider transitioning your company to a benefit corporation (B-Corp). B-Corps adhere to a “triple bottom line,” which includes financial profit, people, and the planet. This approach results in businesses that are more equitable and sustainable, making them stand out in a competitive landscape.
5. Mentor the Next Generation
If you’ve reached a stage in your career where you feel that you have more to offer than to gain, it’s time to become a mentor. Mentorship opportunities can arise naturally or be intentionally sought out. By mentoring, you can expand your influence while guiding aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals with limited resources. Look for opportunities with professional associations and charities that focus on mentoring those who may not have easy access to it.
6. Donate Your Time to the Less Fortunate
Mentorship is just one form of time donation. If you have a few hours to spare each week or a day each month, there are countless organizations in need of volunteers. Your time and talents can be channeled into performing various physical and administrative tasks that can make a significant difference.
7. Don’t Give It All to Your Kids
While it’s important to provide for your children, consider how much they truly need. Often, they can manage with less than you might think. For the surplus, explore legacy giving programs. These allow you to bequeath a portion of your estate to causes you’ve supported throughout your life or are now eager to endorse. It’s a unique opportunity to create a lasting impact.
Leave a Meaningful Legacy
You’ve already made your mark on the world, and now it’s time to contemplate the legacy you’ll leave for future generations. Many successful individuals and families adopt all seven of these strategies. They establish purpose-driven nonprofits or donor-advised funds, transition their for-profit enterprises into benefit corporations, guide the next generation, volunteer their time to those less fortunate, and use legacy-giving programs to make the world a better place. The choice is yours; your legacy awaits.