The Power of Giving
Charitable giving is in full-swing this time of the year, and Americans have a reputation for giving generously to charity. According to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018, American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $427.71 billion to US charities in 2018.
We all know giving helps others and is good for the giver. Whether we provide support to family members, friends, and neighbors, or donate time, talent, or treasure to charities or non-profits, having positive social interactions is essential for good mental and physical health. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the helper’s high. Reciprocity since time immemorial has been an accepted concept. When you give, you’re more likely to get back. Studies by sociologists suggest that when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line.
Giving also strengthens bonds in a community. When you give to others, they feel closer to you and you feel closer to them. You also spur a ripple effect of generosity through your community. According to a Harvard University study, seeing others give makes an individual more likely to give – in other words, giving is contagious.
So, it would seem intuitive that everyone would want to give. And many indeed do give informally.
Informal giving in many communities in the US:
So where are the foundations for giving laid? In the US, philanthropic habits and practices are instilled mainly in the nuclear family. A comprehensive review of more than 500 studies on why people give conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame found that giving is more common among people who are:
A passionate advocate of giving and paying-it-forward and Founder and CEO of WINGS for Growth, a women’s leadership development non-profit, Varsha Waishampayan, says giving gave her a great sense of accomplishment and purpose in life.
About the Author:
Sheeba Madan Loewinger is a Marketing and communications professional with a multi-faceted background encompassing content development and editing, She is a mentee of the WINGS Signature Program. Follow Sheeba at the link shared for her viewpoints.