Charitable donations can benefit the givers as much as they do the recipients.
Givers are just as likely as recipients to reap the rewards of charity. That idea may seem illogical at first. After all, how is it possible that people who give away their money or time benefit from doing so? A Harvard Business School study found that participants were happier when they gave money to others instead of when they spent money on themselves. Also, a National Institutes of Health study found that charitable giving activates the pleasure centers of the brain. Altruism actually produces a “helper’s high” in givers.
And this is hardly the only reason why giving feels so good.
1. Giving Can Build Relationships And Open Your World
Whether you’re sponsoring a child’s school tuition abroad or volunteering at a battered women’s shelter, giving can foster new relationships and broaden your world. Serving the less fortunate might lead you to adopt a more compassionate view of them. You might take more interest in the conflicts ravaging the country where the child you’re sponsoring lives. Over time, problems you never thought affected you might weigh heavy on your heart. And while serving, you might come to think of the staff, residents and volunteers as friends.
2. Helping Others Can Boost Your Self-Esteem
Lending a helping hand can increase your self-esteem. Knowing that the work you’re doing is improving the lives of others can fill you with pride. The awareness that other people are counting on you can give you the confidence to serve in deeper, powerful and riskier ways.
3. Serving Develops Sense Of Responsibility
Volunteering at a charity each week or mentoring a fatherless child can deepen your sense of responsibility. You must organize your schedule to ensure you can serve at the same time and day each week. When you know that your charitable acts directly help others, it becomes more difficult to flake or call in sick. Because service promotes responsibility, you exercise the discipline necessary to be a reliable person.
4. Donations Inspire You To Manage Your Money Better
Routinely donating money to charitable organizations requires givers to take control of their finances. Making a commitment to donate money to a church, a nonprofit or needy child means you have to know what’s coming in and out of your bank account and budget accordingly. One must spend wisely to ensure that funds will be left over for giving.
5. Giving Fosters Gratitude
Working with the needy or donating money to them makes givers appreciate what they have. They realize how lucky they are to have an intact family, a steady income, an education or a home. They come to view what they may previously have taken for granted as blessings.
The benefits of giving are ultimately immeasurable. Reaching beyond oneself to help others is a spiritual exercise that offers both simple and complex lessons to givers. One person’s reward from giving may differ from another’s, but this much is clear: Giving is comparable to a double-edged sword. The benefits of charity are not reserved for the recipients.
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