As Anne Frank said eloquently, “No one ever became poor by giving.” Donating to charity is one of the most rewarding acts, with several benefits for your mental, societal, and financial health.
If charitable giving hasn’t become a financial habit of yours yet, this is the year to make it happen. Here’s what you need to know about giving behaviors today, the long-term benefits, and how to start giving to a cause you care about.
Give statistics that will encourage you to donate
According to the Charities Aid Foundation’s 2019 World Giving Index, Americans are more generous than ever. The United States took first place as the most generous country in the world, with a 58% accumulated score During the last decade. Although money is the most common form of charitable giving, 72% helped a stranger and 42% volunteered their time or services.
Almost 60.7 million Americans have officially volunteered across an organization from September 2020 to September 2021, totaling 4.1 billion volunteer hours and $122.9 billion. Consumers have also put increasing pressure on businesses to maximize their giving potential. As a result, companies contributed $21.08 billion to charities in 2021 – about 23.8% more than in 2020.
Of course, foundations and nonprofits work tirelessly to secure financial support. The most successful organizations have maintained a retention rate of 43% in the United States These numbers are impressive, especially given the more recent financial constraints of the pandemic. Despite economic downturns, international lockdowns and heightened uncertainty around COVID-19, the Giving Institute has highlighted a huge $471.44 billion in donations by the end of 2020 – the highest amount ever.
The charity success comes as the world embarks on the most crucial movements of its time – Black Lives Matter, Time’s Up, Me Too, the Climate Strike, March for Our Lives and marriage equality, among others. The demand for nonprofits to address these issues and drive change is huge, but their efforts are heavy without donations.
6 reasons donating to charity is beneficial
Millions of people around the world have discovered the positive effects of charitable giving on their lives, the lives of others and the planet. How does the donation have the most significant impact? These six long-term benefits should convince you to contribute to a cause you believe in.
1. Improves your mental health
Altruistic behaviors release endorphins that induce happiness – the “helper’s high”. These chemicals include serotonin for mood regulation, dopamine for pleasure and joy, and oxytocin for better connection.
Studies have long supported this notion. Researchers have found that being kind to others improves life satisfaction and reduces depression and anxiety. Overall well-being also improves when donors take time to reflect on their altruism.
Whatever way you give – money, time, services or some other method – doing something good for others positively affects your mental health. It also increases your life expectancy. A 2020 study from Harvard University suggests people who volunteer more than 100 hours per year have a lower risk of death, less loneliness, and more optimism and fitness.
2. Deepens personal values
You may care about providing clean water to people in developing countries. You might also have a passion for educating young girls. Locally, you might want to tackle the backlog of education, animal welfare, or banning drugs from the streets. Everything you value probably drives your willingness to give.
Of the theory of human values, universalism and benevolence influence philanthropic decisions the most. Morals and universal values in particular indicate empathetic concern, preservation and a commitment to equality. Those who defend these values probably donate to medical research and human rights groups. Environmental and humanitarian causes are also important to these people
These people often view charitable donations as a privilege as well as an obligation – if one can afford to donate, one should. Everything they do to touch the lives of others or make a difference is usually rooted in what is dear to them. Acting on their guiding principles only deepens these values.
3. Creates lasting impacts
If you choose a reputable charity, you can guarantee that your donation will go a long way to creating positive change. Organizations divert this money to special programs and campaigns that boost their efforts.
Understandably, some people worry that taxes will eat up most charitable donations or that the money will go to administrative purposes rather than people in need. You can contribute to a charity before tax deductions from your paycheck or leave a donation in your will if you’re worried your cause won’t receive the full amount. Ultimately, every penny counts and enables charities to pursue their mission in their communities and around the world.
4. Offers an opportunity to educate
Your philanthropic nature can encourage others around you to donate to causes close to their hearts. Seeing a friend or family member involved in charitable giving can inspire others to find efforts they can support.
You could even get involved in a fundraising campaign for a specific organization, raising money and raising awareness about critical issues. These cases are an opportunity to teach others how a particular charity solves the problem and how a donation will help further its mission.
Donating to charity also sets a great example for kids to follow as they get older. Children naturally enjoy helping others and will continue to do so over time. It’s a lesson in giving that only sometimes ends in monetary gifts. You can make a habit of asking your children to donate their old clothes and toys to another child or to do acts of kindness whenever possible.
5. Encourages better financial management
Many people take advantage of year-end tax deductions for charitable donations while simultaneously changing someone’s life for the better – a win-win. However, lowering your income tax is only one path to better financial management.
Once you’ve committed to donating to a charity, you can start budgeting for those contributions in your cash flow. Giving to charity means prioritizing what matters most in life and to you personally. You should look at your spending habits to achieve this.
When you save more money, you have more to spend on the essentials, including charity, investments, and other activities. Money-saving apps can help. Some even search the web for available discounts for you and automatically apply them to your cart at checkout. Finding the best deals can make a huge difference to your bank account and your ability to donate.
Of course, if you’ve struggled with money management for a long time, you may have to pay up to 20% annual percentage rate on credit card debt. It’s best to settle what you owe before giving money you don’t have.
6. Promotes community
People have huddled a little closer together as the world goes dark during the COVID-19 pandemic. The wave of infections and huge loss of life caused community members to come together to mourn and support each other – the effects were lasting.
The outcome of the pandemic has shaken many people, especially businesses that have struggled to recover from lockdowns. Donating to local charities is a great way to strengthen community bonds, from neighbors to strangers at the grocery store.
Donating to local organizations helps rebuild and support people and small businesses in struggling towns. The outpouring of kindness brings everyone together.
How to start giving back to important causes
You can do good by donating to charity, whether it’s a financial donation, services or old clothes. If you’re not sure where to start, charity recommendations like Charity Navigator and GiveWell provide unbiased comments on the reliability of an organization and impact scores – which charities are making the most difference with donations. Like many, you might wonder where your money is being spent. If so, do extensive research to determine a particular charity’s reputation for transparency.
Although national charities work hard, consider donating to international organizations as well. Sometimes your dollar goes the furthest in developing countries with worsening water, food, education, gender disparity and economic crises.
Of course, donating to local charities is equally commendable. Suppose a local organization is advocating for affordable housing to address increasing homelessness in the community. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were approximately 582,500 homeless people across the country in 2022 – a number that has increased since the pandemic. Your gift could help these organizations run effective campaigns, organize fundraising events, provide resources and call for new policies.
Remember, social purpose charities aren’t the only organizations you can donate to. Also, consider donating to environmental or animal-focused charities. Organizations like the Humane Society or another animal rescue group are always looking for donations to help save and care for animals. Others are involved in welfare campaigns, pressuring farmers and businesses to treat animals better.
You may also want to contribute to an organization fighting global warming and climate change. As people seek to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors and lifestyles, environmental nonprofits are making sustainability the norm.
Put your money where it matters most
You can make a difference around the world by donating to your favorite charities. Find a cause you’re passionate about and budget your money for the things that matter most. As giving becomes ingrained in your lifestyle, you will reap the benefits of greater happiness and stronger societal bonds.
What are the long-term benefits of donating to charity? appeared first on Due.