A Gift That Keeps on Giving

Today I received yet another request for a donation to a good cause from a well respected charitable organization.
I am not proud of the fact that my initial response was one of annoyance. To my credit though, I was quick to give myself a shake and think about how stressful it must be, and how hard these organizations must work, to ensure funding is in place so they can continue making their vital contributions. 

With that acknowledgement, I sat down at my computer, went online, and made a donation.

I hope more of us will think about donating to charitable and non-profit organizations this season as it is clear that demands on their services remain high, while revenues are stagnant and expenditures increase.

Why donate?

Social profit organizations reflect resourcefulness, resilience, and determination to make sure the hungry are fed, children and families have a roof over their heads, and seniors and those with special needs are safe and healthy.  Employees work shoulder to shoulder along-side volunteers in every single community in Canada to serve, train, advocate, mentor, protect, care, strengthen, develop, support, build, create, and entertain.

They’re doing it within many different areas — social services, health, education and research, the environment, housing, arts and culture, heritage, sport and recreation, advocacy and policy, religion, philanthropy, and volunteerism.

The staff and volunteers in social profits support us in our time of need, lobby for our rights, teach us new skills, coach sport teams, build and maintain community halls and parks, look after our natural environment, plant gardens and trees, provide music, dance and put on shows, help us worship in prayer, offer advice and assistance, and facilitate our play and our festivals.

They provide prenatal and palliative care and everything in between, enrich our lives with leisure activities, teach us about health issues, run recycling and nature appreciation programs, organize community celebrations, deliver services for children and seniors, help us learn and grow, conduct research, and give Canada a respected place in the world through work in international development.

And, if those reasons aren’t good enough for you, donate because it will make you feel good. It’s true.

Research shows that while some people are better able to empathize with the plight of others or are perhaps even genetically predisposed to generosity, donating money not only helps you save money on your taxes, it will impact your well-being. 

One study from the University of British Columbia showed that people who give money to charities are happier than those who don’t.  In fact, donating as little as five dollars helped people feel better.  Another study at the University of Oregon demonstrated that for many participants, giving generates neural activity in the same pleasure centres of the brain as receiving

Even more interesting is that people who leave money to charity in their wills live three years longer than those who don’t.

Perhaps more importantly, as my mother recently reinforced for me, when you give it comes back to you multiplied. It is, after all, in giving that we receive.

In other words, generosity is not only essential for healthy, strong, and vibrant communities, it can bring you personal happiness and longevity. 

Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Posted on 12-04-11

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