Charitable giving is about so much more than just helping those who are in need. It’s about participating in something that’s bigger than yourself and working to make your community – and the world – a better place. However, philanthropy doesn’t just help those who are receiving your time or money. As you’ll see, there are significant benefits for the giver, too. Whether you’re donating money to charities that you’re passionate about or volunteering at local organizations, here are some ways that charitable giving is good for you.
#1. Charitable giving increases happiness.
Of course, charities and recipients of your philanthropic efforts are going to be happy with your gift. However, giving back also increases your personal happiness. In fact, research shows that people report higher levels of happiness when they’re giving money to others rather than spending it on themselves. These effects aren’t just psychological either – it goes deeper than that. Another study showed that when people give back, the part of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust becomes activated. Because of these results, scientists believe that altruistic behavior, such as charitable giving, releases endorphins in the brain and produces a positive feeling referred to as the ”helpers high.”
#2. Charitable giving elicits gratitude.
Just as it feels good to be helped, it feels good to help others. Whether you’re giving or receiving a gift, you’re likely to experience a sense of gratitude. And, gratitude has been proven to be fundamental to happiness, health, and strengthening social bonds. When you’re able to express your gratitude for others, whether in gifts or in action, you’re boosting your happiness and the happiness of those around you. Cultivating a sense of gratitude can lead to higher rates of satisfaction in life and a more optimistic view of the world, too.
SEE ALSO: Tax-Savvy Charitable Gifting Strategies
#3. Charitable giving boosts your health.
If you practice philanthropy, you probably already know that charitable giving can boost your happiness – and provide tax advantages, too – but you may not be aware that can also improve your physical health. In his book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, professor of preventative medicine, Stephen Post, reported that charitable giving has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses. Research also shows that philanthropic efforts can help boost health in elderly people, so much so that it was reported that elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer.
One reason why charitable giving can positively impact health, according to researchers, is that it helps decrease stress which is heavily associated with a variety of health issues. People who provide social and financial support to their communities show lower rates of blood pressure than those who don’t, suggesting a direct physical benefit between charitable giving and health.
#4. Charitable giving promotes cooperation and connection.
The more you give, the more likely you are to get back. While that may not be the motivating force behind your charitable giving, the exchange of giving and taking care of one another promotes a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our bonds with our community. What’s more, having positive social interactions and trust in your community is crucial to your mental and physical health, as we know. Philanthropy allows us to feel closer to those in our community, as it encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light.
Researcher John Cacioppo summarizes this effect succinctly in his book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, when he writes, “The more extensive the reciprocal altruism born of social connection… the greater the advance toward health, wealth, and happiness.”
#5. Charitable giving inspires others.
The benefits of charitable giving aren’t solitary. It’s been proven that when one person behaves philanthropically, those around them are inspired to take up their own charitable giving efforts and help others, creating a ripple effect throughout the community. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, actually found that altruism tends to spread by three degrees. That is, from person to person to person. This means that, when you give back, you could influence dozens of people around you to do the same, and then they themselves can influence people around them, and so on. So, you could be inspiring people to join your efforts in philanthropy without even realizing you were the catalyst for change.
How We Can Support Your Charitable Giving Efforts
As you can see, there are a host of good reasons for giving back – and many of them benefit you as the giver! If you’d like to explore your options for charitable giving, we can help. At Resolute, we designed our company logo to reflect our commitment to helping our clients discover the best ways to make an impact with their wealth. Giving back is important to us, and we know it can serve as an integral component of wealth management, too. You can click to learn more about what we call “The Giving Box” or schedule a conversation with us today. We look forward to hearing from you!