Whilst there are a whole host of theories and frameworks for effective business, there are far fewer models for effective philanthropy. Philanthropists are regarded as free to improvise, and the general consensus is that there is no correct or incorrect way to give to good causes. Charity invites praise and admiration no matter how it is carried out.
However, this mindset can be problematic because it oversimplifies the process of value creation. Some philanthropists are undoubtedly more effective than others – and it is not just a question of how much they give, but rather how these funds are used. Like in business, philanthropy involves deploying time and resources to achieve clear, tangible results. It is therefore unsurprising that the best philanthropists apply business acumen and a strategic approach to their philanthropic efforts.
Roman Semiokhin, a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, has done this particularly well. A successful business leader, Roman donates significant funds and resources to social and environmental causes that are close to his heart. He approaches philanthropy in the same way he conducts business, with an industrious mindset and a plan of action, and there are a number of lessons to take from his methods.
First, it is important to spend time in the places and communities you are supporting and understand the real needs there, rather than donating blindly to causes that you know little about. The best philanthropists are keenly aware of the socio-economic pressures within a region, the external political environment and the changing landscape, and can respond with versatility to these needs.
In Semiokhin’s case, much of his philanthropy is centred around Russia, his native country, and Cyprus, his country of residence, where he has an in-depth understanding of the issues at play. In recent years, he has responded quickly and effectively to disasters in these communities; for example, by donating USD $500,000 to provide assistance and relief to those affected by the recent wildfires in Cyprus. He gave a further RUB ₽40 million and EUR €1 million in Russia and Cyprus respectively to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, beyond providing immediate relief and funding recovery efforts, truly effective philanthropy must also focus on addressing the root causes of a problem and empowering communities to effectively deal with future challenges. As the well-known saying goes, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” Philanthropists should think long-term and use funds strategically to generate lasting impact in local communities.
Roman Semiokhin is clearly mindful of this. He focuses on innovation and development in the regions he serves, investing in projects with long-term benefits in fields ranging from medicine and education to agriculture, real estate and construction. For example, he plans to launch an innovative educational institution in Cyprus, using the latest technology and research to create an effective learning environment and make a lasting difference to students’ lives and future prospects.
In short, the most effective philanthropists are largely those with an entrepreneurial spirit, a clear strategy, an understanding of their local communities, and a commitment to making a long-term positive impact. These are all traits that Roman Semiokhin exhibits through his wide-ranging charitable work and which have shaped him into the philanthropist he is today.