When thinking of charitable giving, we often think exclusively about supporting an organization or cause that is close to our hearts. The idea of supporting this cause is typically motivation enough to keep giving, but what if you knew that when you give, you actually get back what you gave, ten times over?
Research by various sources has actually shown that charitable giving can increase happiness, sharpen financial planning skills, build social connections, increase physical health, and more—not to mention the tax benefits!
Elevating Emotional Well-Being:
One of the immediate rewards of charitable giving is the emotional satisfaction it delivers. As per the article by Medium "Why Giving Money Away Makes You Happier and More Successful", charitable giving can actually increase happiness. The report cites a study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition in which "...researchers found that donating to charity boosted happiness to a similar degree as doubling your household income."
Additionally, although not directly linked, giving can even correlate with better physical health and well-being. For example, "...charity stimulates parts of the brain called the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens, which are associated with meeting basic needs such as food and shelter–suggesting to the researchers that our brains know that giving is good for us."
Sharpening Financial Planning Skills:
Participating in charitable giving can also hone your financial planning skills. Charitable giving encourages you to evaluate your financial situation and allocate resources thoughtfully. Budgeting for donations can translate into more disciplined financial habits, vital for achieving your long-term financial goals. This is specifically great for young first-time donors, who might feel weary about giving their hard-earned money away.
Building Social Connections:
Generosity often nurtures social bonds. The act of giving can draw you closer to people who share your values and passions. Growing a robust social network can be a wellspring of valuable financial resources, from investment tips to career opportunities, bolstering your long-term financial health. Giving can also aid in increased feelings of community and belonging and can help you become a more impactful and inclusive member of society. To this point, "research has shown that giving can promote prosocial behavior, such as cooperation, trust, and reciprocity, which are critical to building strong, healthy communities."
Charitable giving can also bring direct financial benefits. If you live in Massachusetts, you might be aware that starting in January of 2023, the state reintroduced charitable giving tax deductions. If you live in any of these states, and you haven’t been taking advantage of these deductions, you should definitely start! These deductions can trim down your taxable income, potentially lowering your tax burden and freeing up more funds for savings and investments.
Charitable giving is a potent way to make a positive impact on the world, and it holds pleasant surprises for you too. Through your giving, you can uplift your emotional and overall well-being, potentially reduce your tax liabilities, fortify social connections, refine your financial planning skills, and even enjoy health benefits. These cumulative benefits can lead to enhanced financial well-being and a more fulfilling life. So, whether you're a seasoned donor or contemplating your first charitable contribution, remember that giving isn't just about changing the world—it's also about enriching your future for the better.
If you’d like to flex your giving muscles, make a donation to Leadership Brainery in support of our programs and the student leaders that we serve. Please visit our donation page to make a one-time gift or sign up for recurring donations! Every contribution supports our theory of change that with equitable access to advanced education, resources, and inclusive networks, underrepresented communities can leverage impactful and higher-wage careers to establish financial stability and reinvest in their communities to create generational prosperity.