How Giving Benefits The Giver

Understanding the benefits that your donation has on a charity–whether it’s a monetary gift or otherwise–shouldn’t be hard. We’ll never cure a disease that doesn’t receive funding.

If you recall back to last summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a phenomenon that swept the nation. The benefit to the cause became palpable when it was announced that, thanks in part to the donations that came about from the wide-reaching videos and popularity of the practice, a gene linked to ALS was identified by researchers.

The effect of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and any similar charity–driven viral sensation–is obvious. But how can philanthropic giving affect us?

It Benefits Us Mentally

Think back to the last time you wrote a check to a charity, bought a meal for someone in need or leant some money to a close friend who was struggling to get by. Chances are, you walked away from the encounter with your wallet a little lighter, but with a sense of satisfaction. Understandably, giving to others makes us feel better about ourselves–helping others can activate the reward center of our brains. Giving makes us happier and helps us to feel more life-satisfaction than those who don’t give.

It Benefits Us Physically

If you’re feeling stressed you’re certainly not alone. According to a 2014 survey, over 70% of Americans report they feel stressed regularly. What that 70% of people may not know, however, is that the solution to their stressful feelings may be to start giving. Philanthropy can actually help relieve stress, according to Johns Hopkins researchers. It’s also been shown that those who regularly give to charities and help the less fortunate are frequently more physically healthy than their non-charitable counterparts.

Tax Deductions

As many people know, money and goods given to charities can be written off as tax deductions at the end of the fiscal year. Take whatever your income is annually and subtract the amount you gave during the year, that’s your new tax-deductible income. Those who are particularly charitable can reap large rewards from this widely-known rule, particularly if you’re among the people who make enough money to put you into a high tax bracket.

The Biggest Benefit: It Helps Others

While helping others can, and very much does help others, the most important aspect of giving is how much is helps other people. When you’re writing a check to a charity that you support or helping to rebuild a community, you’re not doing it for you, you’re doing it for others.

That’s what really matters.