The last twenty some years of my life I have been working in nonprofits and raising my family. My family’s needs and commitments became my needs and commitments. We belonged and associated with many organizations that promoted citizenship and community. The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, soccer clubs, drama clubs and musical events all consumed our life. My family volunteered with me on community events, and I can see how volunteering has impacted their lives.
There was one event my kids loved to volunteer at, and that was their grade school carnival. They volunteered all the way through high school to go back to their elementary school and watch the kids enjoy what they once enjoyed.
But the kids have grown and left home.
Now what do I do with all my free time? As I entered into the empty nest stage of my life, I searched for a new way to get involved with my community. As a yogi, I also understand the intrinsic value of connecting with others, balancing your life and rewarding yourself. This is what I wanted to share with you: donating can fulfill all of these objectives.
Why everyone should donate.
Donating to a cause you care about can benefit a charity and be deeply rewarding to you, the giver.
The thought of helping others by planning to make a donation sends a clear message about your personal priorities. Millions of people donate regularly. People who give report an improved sense of well-being, lower stress levels, better emotional health and an enhanced purpose in life. All these factors can lead to increased happiness.
Let’s take a look at why donating is so gratifying.
Helping others is incredibly empowering and fulfilling. Donating gives you the opportunity to learn new skills, make friends, have fun and build your community up. Meaningful action comes in many different forms. For example, volunteers can act as caregivers or servers at a soup kitchen, they can answer telephone hotlines or assist with a special event. The brain then registers these pleasures, proving it is better to give than receive.
Social conscience is a strong factor in donating. Having the power and ability to improve the lives of others is a privilege that comes with its own obligations. This responsibility is a way to enforce our own personal values and be true to ourselves. Think carefully about what you care about, then follow up on that. Plus, when you donate, you create an opportunity to meet new people who believe in the same causes that inspire you.
Sharing your experience of donating with family and friends shows them that they can also make a change. Nurturing the generosity within yourself is likely to inspire those closest to you to give to causes important to them. Family giving creates a bond through shared goals. I used to take my kids and volunteer at the local Habitat for Humanity houses, where we were part of the crew for several years. We learned landscaping, worked with other families and continuously drove by those houses looking at the progress, even after the families moved in. Years later this volunteer opportunity even led me to a job with Habitat for Humanity.
Giving is a form of investment—an investment in yourself and in the organization you align with. Find out what you care about and what is important to you. It’s fun to see the results of your contribution.
Businesses also benefit from charitable giving. Companies involved with community work see improved recruitment, retention and increased employee engagement.
Some people wait to give in their wills and in their estate planning. Although this is good, it you shouldn’t put off giving. I guarantee donors will be more satisfied and get more enjoyment if they give today. By donating today, you address world problems today. In addition, you reap the benefits today for yourself, your family and your business. Today is the day to think about what kind of life you want to live and the kind of world you want to live in.
The practice of volunteering has helped me find my interest and passion. Take the time to give, connect and learn. The intrinsic reward can be felt immediately. Please join in and have fun.