It’s true, giving is good for the soul. Important to know as we enter the Season of Giving where financial contributions to any number of nonprofit organizations can have a lasting impact on the good they’re able to accomplish as well as a lasting impact on personal well-being. Mahatma Gandhi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
And there is great truth to it. Psychologists found, in a survey of over 600 Americans, that spending money on others led to greater happiness at all income levels. There are psychological health benefits and social health benefits of giving. Research shows humans are intrinsically social and generosity is a survival instinct. Without caring and looking out for one another, we would have died out long ago. Personal happiness keeps us personally healthy and taking care of others keeps society healthy.
We examined some of the benefits of giving and put together this list of how and why charitable donations work to create a happy, healthy and well-rounded life, for individuals and for society as a whole
Volunteering versus Giving
We all have that image of standing behind the soup line, serving those less fortunate or packing boxes to be delivered to those in need. But not everyone can find the time in these scheduled to the minute days. The truth is, giving monetary gifts help organizations in measurable ways. Often nonprofits can make a dollar stretch farther and put it to use for operations beyond the front lines, where much of the work happens. At Table to Table, we’ll turn $1 into 10 meals. Giving in any way that personally works, whether time or money, improves the lives of many and should feel equally good!
Donating to a charity by attending fundraisers creates opportunities to meet new people who believe in the same cause. That can infuse our everyday life with more meaning. Been stuck in a rut, whether personally or professionally? Sometimes the simple act of giving can reinvigorate our lives by allowing us to see beyond our own problems. Each season we see first hand how coming together at sponsored events with like-minded people increases our donors’ happiness with and connection to our food rescue mission.
Knowing Whom the Gift Will Help
Child sponsorship programs have been putting this to use longer and better than anyone and, while the commercials showing poor children living in squalor can be uncomfortable, putting a name and face to the cause gives a big emotional boost. Donations are 60% greater when there is a name, age and picture of someone who will benefit from the donation. This is called the identifiable victim effect; we care more about the one person we know compared to the numerous others that are just numbers. When donating to Table to Table, every cent is going to your local community and potentially to neighbors you see on the street everyday.
No Strings Attached
Making a donation to get something in exchange for a material item can limit the altruistic high. Making a purchase that gives to a charity makes us feel better about our purchase but can decrease overall happiness. Gifting with no strings attached or tangible trade off will maximize the meaning of the gift and increase the level of happiness and satisfaction.
The holidays have always been a time of reflection and giving, even amid the chaos of the season. Nonprofits, like Table to Table, rely on charitable gifts to continue our work of bringing healthy, nutritious meals to our communities and neighbors. Donations keep our six refrigerated trucks on the road year round, in all types of weather, to bring food to our neighbors. There are no snow days, no sick days, no time when we’re not solving problems to remediate hunger and to serve those who need help putting food on their families’ table.
We are grateful for the caring support of our donor community and we wish everyone a season of love, health and good fortune. Thank you for taking this journey with us throughout this year and beyond. Happy Holidays.