Home > Blog > Does Giving Create Happiness?

 A regular reader recently forwarded to me a New York Times Op-Ed piece entitled “Why Fund-Raising Is Fun” by contributing writer Arthur C. Brooks.

The article provided Brooks’ unusual perspective about why fundraising, something most people detest doing themselves, is actually fun for him..  Brooks writes that it is good to ask people to give because giving brings people more happiness and more prosperity.  Along with quoting studies from Harvard and the University of British Columbia that prove this hypothesis, he made a couple of points that really struck me:

  • Charitable giving improves what psychologists call “self-efficacy,” one’s belief that one is capable of handling a situation and bringing about a desired outcome.  When people give their time or money to a cause they believe in, they become problem solvers. Problem solvers are happier than bystanders and victims of circumstance.
  • I have found that the real magic of fundraising goes even deeper than temporary happiness or extra income. It creates meaning. Donors possess two disconnected commodities: material wealth and sincere convictions. Alone, these commodities are difficult to combine. But fund-raisers facilitate an alchemy of virtue: They empower those with financial resources to convert the dross of their money into the gold of a better society.

Wow, I love that last sentence. I looked up dross because I don’t use that word, and it means “something regarded as worthless” which isn’t a definition many of us would apply to money; but if you are wealthy and have more money than you need and it isn’t serving any useful purpose, I can see how that would apply.

Here is a link to the full article.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/opinion/sunday/why-fund-raising-is-fun.html

I am drawn to articles that talk about how meaningful giving increases the happiness and quality of life of generous people. In my experience, it is truer than people realize. For people who have assets in excess of what they need and who would love to add more meaning and fulfillment to their lives, who are ready to be a participant not a bystander in our community, we can offer a path through philanthropy.

Join me and enjoy the moment with Pharrell Williams song “Because I’m Happy” (listen to it here). If you are interested in adding philanthropy to your life, please give me a call. Please call me if you’d like to discuss the initiative or any other charitable ideas.
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Chris Askin, President and CEO,

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