5 Ways Charitable Giving Improves Your Well-Being

11-16-2012 4-02-04 PM

With an economy on the slide, incomes being slashed and the national mood bordering on fear with the fiscal cliff looming, the amount of dollars contributed to charitable organizations is down pretty much across the board.  Most people are still in a charitable mood, says Patrick Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University in Indianapolis.  ”Their motivations aren’t affected by the economy, but the amount they give seems to change in fairly tight relation to it.”

Despite the depressed giving levels, the reasons to give to a charitable organization remain abundant.  Let go through a few of the ways that giving can give you and the community you live in a boost in the holiday season and throughout the year.

Giving Gives You a Sense of Satisfaction

“It is better to give than receive” goes the saying. Have you ever received a gift from a child and enjoyed their reaction when you expressed your surprise or admiration of their gift and thanked them?  Their faces light up with a wide grin and they become happy and pleased that they brought joy to someone else.

Not much changes with these simple acts when they grow into adults.  We may not show it as much on the outside, but we become satisfied with ourselves in a certain way when we give gifts, just like the child.  It’s a law of nature.  It’s an internal mechanism that boost our self-esteem and self-worth.  Even if just for a few moments. But a lifestyle of giving compounds this effect and we become more confident and generous people as a result over time.

Giving Makes a Real Difference in Someone Else’s Life

Aside from manufactured giving, like Christmas and birthdays, our giving to charitable organizations often does make a huge difference in the recipient’s life.  Be choosy about the organization you give to, and make sure the overhead costs don’t reduce the effectiveness of your gift.  The lower the overhead cost the better and or a volunteer organization like Givology with zero overhead is best.  Of course, avoid organizations with highly paid CEO’s .  You don’t want to fund someone else’s luxury with your hard-earned donation.

Giving money to education and social development in third world countries or in your community is a real and concrete way to make your money work for good.  Your gift makes an impact.   In conjunction with a community of givers, you will give a child chance to realize their potential, or help feed hungry people,  or whatever the cause.

Building up others’ potential by giving also establishes a sense of community.  Community breeds more giving and sharing and the snowball of charity grows.

You Will be Blessed in Return

Like the words in the tune by the New Radicals, You Get What You Give, there is an unavoidable natural law – you get back what you give.  In Christian circles, it’s called the principle of sowing and reaping.  It goes like this: whatever activity you involve yourself in or give your time, talents, or money for (sowing), you will reap the rewards of that activity in time.

Proverbs 28:27 says “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing.” Pretty good promise. Others call it Karma, but whatever you call it, it’s true.

Giving Encourages Us to Think Rightly about Money

When you make the decision to give away some of your earnings, you’ve consciously or unconsciously decided that there is value in something outside of yourself and a chunk of your money is better spent on that value rather than yourself.

The healthy perspective on money goes something like this: (feel free to argue or add more in the comments)

  • I’m thankful that I have some and possess the ability to earn more if I choose
  • Money is a tool, not an end in itself
  • Money is less valuable than relationships
  • I will hold lightly to my money and possessions, and hold tightly the people I love
  • My personal identity isn’t found in how much money I have, it’s how I treat others
  • I can’t take it with me when I die and I won’t die if I don’t have it

The act of giving reinforces these truths every time.  For those that haven’t given charitably yet, it forces them to face these truths.

Charitable Giving is the Antidote to a World Driven by Consumerism and Greed

People often confuse greed with success.  Some say if you are successful and wealthy, you must be greedy.  Not necessarily true.  The ambition to be successful in everything you do is an honorable personality trait, and if it leads to worldly wealth, then that’s ok.  Greed, however, is not good, regardless of what some say.  In a child, greed and selfishness is natural. In an adult, it’s a personal flaw.

Sharing with others is the opposite of  greed and commercialism. It shows a maturity and a respect for others and an awareness of the needs in the world around us. It helps fight off the greed and commercialism so prevalent in today’s culture.

More visible, willful, voluntary giving contributes to a culture of giving, which squeezes out greed and makes others want to do the same.   Less greed and more voluntary sharing benefits everyone.

What Should We Do, Then?

Since sharing wealth through charitable giving is a universal need, I’d like to encourage you to visit Givology. It is 100% volunteer-based and the entire management team takes no salary, which means every penny donated goes to someone in need.

Givology will be matching donations dollar for dollar until the end of November.  If you’d like to donate, follow this link to make sure your donation is doubled.

Also, here’s a raffle for Givology gift cards so you can donate even more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway