How to leave a Legacy

How to leave a Legacy

Pondering the legacy you might one day leave is a fantastic motivator - it can whisk you away from the often mundane details of everyday living, to a panoramic view, a hint at the greater significance of life. Far beyond the combination of the precious traditions and the estate that you leave to your family, we reach the notion of your legacy as your footprint, your particular mark, on the wider world you have left to the generations who follow you.

Who better embodies the potential of this footprint  than our own Madiba. His legacy is almost unmatched. His foundation benefits a massive number of organisations and projects, and the memory of this great man continues to inspire people the world over to acts of compassion, to commitment to a cause greater than ourselves.

We may not all live life on as grand a scale as Madiba did, but our own deeds have just as much power to affect those within our sphere of influence. 


There are a number of ways you can get involved in helping worthy causes:

  • Often the first thing that comes to mind is a cash contribution. One of the benefits donations allow is in aiding an organisation based far from where you live, but whose work really resonates with you, especially if it is one of a kind. One example is Beauty Without Cruelty, who educate and inform the public about the exploitation of animals and offer humane alternatives to replace cruel and harmful lifestyle choices. Another example is the Smile Foundation, who provide free corrective facial reconstructive surgery and treatments to children with facial conditions. You might also find a local charity operating despite having very little funding at all, where your donation can make a palpable difference. 
  • Your time can be even more valuable to many organisations.  This could mean once-off involvement in helping to renovate a decrepit school building, or painting a beautiful mural for kids in an impoverished crèche. Or it could mean a more regular commitment, such as taking on a shift at a charity store, caring for the elderly at an old-age home, or walking dogs for a local animal welfare organisation.
  •  Your skills may be desperately needed. Whether you are an accountant or an artist, an HR officer or a seasoned gardener, you can advise an organisation on best accounting practices, provide opportunities for children to engage in creating art, improve staff and volunteer sourcing processes, or start a community permaculture garden.  Find out how your skills can help to improve the running of an organisation by contacting them, or by visiting a website like, where charities post notices about their specific needs, and volunteers also post notices about the skills they have to offer.
  • You can also help the organisations to gain visibility using social media and even via email. As Charity SA notes, sharing posts about the activities and needs of an organisation can have a significant impact, helping improve the chances of a particular post reaching the right person at the right time, leading to corporate sponsorship or individual involvement. Many of these organisations don’t have websites or Facebook pages of their own, and rely on us sharing the posts made by umbrella organisations like Charity SA to get their message out to potential donors and volunteers. 

May you be inspired by the upcoming Nelson Mandela Day, not only to dedicate 67 minutes to the greater good, but to multiply those minutes, to multiply that effort, into a sustained interest in one (or more) of the fantastic charities operating in our midst. This is the making of a legacy worth leaving.

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