As a nation, we’re always looking for ways to help out those who need it most. In 2016, Americans collectively donated $390.05 billion to charity reaching the highest level yet and beating 2015’s record of $379.89 billion by 2.7%. If you weren’t one of those who gave their time, money, or services, consider offering some aid to those who need it this year. Here’s why many people choose to give to a good cause and why you should, too.
- Every donation makes a difference.
When looking at poverty and hunger on a global scale, it’s easy to feel like your donation of a few dollars won’t even make a dent in the grand scheme of things. However, no donation is too small to make a difference. A small donation of three dollars can protect an individual from malaria with an insecticide-treated bed mosquito net. A donation of just $35 will restore a person’s eyesight through a life-changing cataract surgery. Yes, donating more money will generate more assistance to those in need, but no donation is too small to help.
- You feel better when you give
The pleasure centers in our brains reward us with feel-good hormones like dopamine when we do something that makes us happy. While the logic would follow that spending our money on ourselves should make us feel ‘happier,’ the opposite actually turns out to be true. In a controlled experiment from the National Institute of Health, participants were given $100; those who donated a portion of their money showed active pleasure centers within their brain. Helping others makes us feel better ourselves.
- You can instill the value of generosity in your children
Children build and grow their system of beliefs and behaviors in the environment they grow up in. When your kids see you donating your money, it will help them adopt their own mindset of philanthropy and giving in their lives. Take a look at programs like Samaritan’s Purse and consider making a part of your holiday gift-giving giving to those less fortunate.
- You can give your life more meaning
All of us have causes that we believe in. When you actualize those beliefs and turn them into monetary donations for those causes, you’re taking steps towards making the world a better place in your eyes which can, in turn, give your life more meaning.