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What you gain from giving

November 28, 2018

By Carla Ries

"This is the second installment in the Giving Matters blog series, Giving Glow. Read part one, "Values-driven work."

I have been at Vanguard Charitable for over ten years, and in my current role leading our Operations team I am fortunate to have a front-row seat to our donors' giving experiences. With the "giving season" in full swing, I see and hear on a day-to-day basis the joy and fulfillment our donors get from their charitable work.

Not only am I impressed by the stories about how and why people provide charitable support-- giving back, volunteering, donating money to a favorite cause, lending emotional support to those in need-- I'm often impressed by how their giving impacts them emotionally.

While feelings are subjective, I've found it fascinating that researchers have started to ask whether there are measurable psychological and physiological benefits to giving. Beyond the satisfaction that donors get from helping an organization, research has found that there may be more subtle, though impactful, benefits to the giver, such as1,2:

  • Stress reduction
  • Greater self-esteem and life satisfaction
  • Better physical health
  • A reduction in negative emotions
  • Increased overall happiness

Giving can also foster important social connections. Volunteering can provide us with a direct physical connection to those we are serving. While doing so, individuals may also find themselves less absorbed in the everyday stresses of life.

For my family, we've felt that volunteering can help deepen a sense of meaning or purpose for us as individuals and as a family. It can often be an experience that helps us reflect on our good fortune and appreciate what we have. It also reminds us that we all have the ability to make a difference.

As we head towards year-end, I'd encourage you to reflect on the previous year and try to remember and appreciate the positive feelings you've had after offering charitable support in a way that was meaningful to you.

As you plan for giving in 2019, Vanguard Charitable is here to partner with you to meet your charitable goals. The third installment of our Giving Glow series will feature Dr. William D. Danko, author of Richer Than A Millionaire: A Pathway to True Prosperity."

 

1https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you

2https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefits-giving

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