Not a charity case philanthropy has long been the pastime of billionaire families like the Ackermans of Pick n Pay fame, but it should form part of your financial planning, says Shelagh Gastrow of Inyathelo — The SA Institute for Advancement, an organisation that assists NG0s. Absa, RMB and BOE already offer philanthropy units that deal with the legal requirements and undertake research into the role philanthropy plays in South Africa and the services they can offer their clients. There's a distinct difference between philanthropy and charity, says Gastrow. "It's a strategic philosophy and deals with the causes of social ills, not merely the symptoms. While there's always room for people to help each other, philanthropic investment is not about making poverty more bearable," she says. Whether it be training centres or Dylan Lewis sculptures scattered around your home town, invest in something close to your heart. Some of the more sizeable egos require that their names be carved on university halls' facades. Many donors also name their initiative after loved ones who have passed away. "A lot of people want to leave a legacy behind," says Gastrow.