The act of giving has hidden benefits for both the donor and receiver, even if the two never meet. For example, Maya Angelou said one of philanthropy’s benefits is that it lifts a person’s soul, and Mahatma Gandhi taught that giving of oneself is the best way to develop self-awareness.
Additionally, scientific research offers compelling evidence of the physical and psychological advantages of donating time, skills, money, and treasures. This truth is found in one of life’s earliest lessons: “It’s better to give than to receive.”
Giving triggers the brain to release the trifecta of “feel good” hormones: oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, creating a “warm glow effect.” Several studies support the theory that donating money offers greater happiness than using it to purchase something for oneself.
These chemicals help people step away from their concerns and discard feelings of aloneness or not mattering: Giving can ease stress, boost happiness and self-confidence, and improve health.
Healthy Benefits of Giving
In addition to happiness, giving promotes good health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Susan Albers-Bowling, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), said: “Generosity truly is good for your heart;” it can lower blood pressure.
Studies indicate the hidden benefits of giving include improved psychological well-being and unexplainably lowered hypertension risk. Notably, the flood of feel-good chemicals often reduces stress and decreases anxiety, factors both known to increase heart health.
A similar analysis that indicated giving promotes better health is Doug Oman’s UC Berkeley 1999 study. Researchers found that older adults with at least two volunteer jobs were 44% less likely to die over five years than non-volunteers, even after considering age, exercise habits, general health, and harmful habits like smoking.
Moreover, giving is hard-wired into a person’s DNA, and parenting is a prime example. The co-Director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center explains that human beings evolved to have the capacities to care for those in need and to cooperate.
This evolution was a matter of survival. Parents instinctually understand their vulnerable offspring depend on them. As a result, humans are innately compassionate; they care about other people, babies, animals, the Earth, etcetera.
Donor Behavior and Corporate Philanthropy
Derrick Feldmann of Philanthropy News Digest explains charitable giving behaviors: “Donors are drawn to actions that, psychologically speaking, are low cost but yield a satisfying result.”
They want to know why their donation matters and how it relates to their life. Moreover, donors tend to give corporately; they make donations when they see others do the same, also called the “me too effect.”
When asked why they donated money or time, people often say they did so because the cause was important to them. However, they also felt good about being socially responsible by giving to others.
These same donors have taken social responsibility further, something they accomplish as consumers. As a result, they spend their money with companies that commit to giving back charitably, like Simpleaf — which is dedicated to impacting the lives of those facing adversities. Community-minded consumers helped this personal wipes company make record donations in 2022.
Simpleaf contributed baby and body wipes: 20,000 to Baby2Baby, an organization that provides children living in poverty with the basic necessities, and 7,750 to Streetside Showers, which offers hope and helps to restore human dignity to the homeless community with a hot shower and personal hygiene care.
Moreover, since launching its partnership with Toilet Twinning, Simpleaf has helped provide first-time access to toilets in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The association has given 46,000 toilets to more than 66 communities.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
(Originally published on Simpleaf)
Live Science: The Science Behind the Power of Giving (Op-Ed); by Jenny Santi
Greater Good Magazine: 5 Ways Giving Is Good for You; by Jason Marsh and Jill Suttie
Psycom: Tell Me All I Need to Know About Oxytocin; by Alexandra Owens, Medically Reviewed by Randy Bressler, PsyD
The Harvard Gazette: Money spent on others can buy happiness; by Coleen Walsh
Intelligent Change: The Importance of Giving
Harvard Business Review: The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy; by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer
Philanthropy News Digest: 3 Things to Know About Donor Behavior; by Derrick Feldmann
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First Inset Image Created by Cathy Milne-Ware on Stencil App Courtesy of Flickr – Public Domain License
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Third Inset Image by Christina @ wocintechchat.com Courtesy of Unsplash