How to become a philanthropist

Philanthropy can help create a better world. And, here at Teenage Cancer Trust, it provides life-changing support to young people in need of our help. Learn more about how you can become a philanthropist and why it’s important.

What is philanthropy?

A philanthropist is defined as someone who donates their time, skills or money to a good cause. It is an altruistic individual striving to solve and prevent societal problems. This often involves large donations to charity. 

Why is philanthropy important?

Charities rely heavily on major gifts from philanthropists. And generous support like this means that Teenage Cancer Trust can provide vital support for the young people and families who need us. It allows us to fund transformational services for teenagers affected by cancer, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.

Philanthropy can also make a positive social impact in other ways, through campaigning and volunteering.

Can I be a philanthropist without money?

Charities rely heavily on major gifts from philanthropists to fund facilities and services.

But, as we’ve touched on above, you can still become a philanthropist without having lots of money to donate. You can volunteer your time to make a difference or use your skills and knowledge to instigate positive change. 

Do I need qualifications to be a philanthropist?

No, you don’t need any qualifications or experience to become a philanthropist. Kindness and a social conscience are key.

What are philanthropic activities?

There are many ways to become a philanthropist. Before you start, you need to find a cause you’re passionate about and decide what you hope to achieve through philanthropy. Or, if it’s an issue you want to solve, get to the root of the problem and work out a strategy for creating lasting change rather than temporary fixes.

There are several routes to becoming a philanthropist, including:


Major gifts and philanthropic donations are the lifeblood of most charities and organisations striving to make a positive impact. At Teenage Cancer Trust, we define donations of more than £5,000 as a philanthropic gift.


Giving your time to help good causes is another route into philanthropy. Many charities rely heavily on volunteers, from a board level to service delivery. And societies thrive when people dedicate time to helping others in their community. Even random acts of kindness can go a long way.

You may have a certain set of skills or knowledge that can benefit a good cause you’re passionate about or lots of time to give to help others. Be realistic about your goals, the difference you want to make and the time you can dedicate before committing to volunteering for lasting impact. 

Become a campaigner

Perhaps you’re an expert in a field or have noticed a societal issue that needs urgent change. Campaigning for important causes is another route into philanthropy. A good example of this is England footballer Marcus Rashford and his campaign for free school meals, which brought about government change and earned him an MBE.


You may not have the bank balance to give large sums of money to charity, but you can still make a big impact by becoming a major fundraiser. This could involve organising big fundraiser events or individual fundraising missions. You’ll find plenty of inspiration in our fundraising guides, from extreme ideas to the quirky.

What are the benefits of being a philanthropist?

The benefits to being a philanthropist are two-fold; you’ll be helping those in need while finding reward in knowing that your kindness has made a positive mark on the world. As an individual, you have the potential to make a difference to many lives and leave a lasting legacy. 

Why choose Teenage Cancer Trust as a philanthropist?

Our vision is a world in which cancer doesn’t stop young people from living their lives. At Teenage Cancer Trust we do all we can to improve the lives of those that rely on our services, which include specialised nurses, support teams and dedicated hospital units. 

Philanthropy is so important to us as a charity that we have a devoted team which develops and nurtures relationships with the generous individuals who support us. Choose to support us, and we’ll make sure you see the incredible impact of your donations.

Find out more about joining our community of wonderful philanthropists.