Philanthropy – Dirty Little Secrets – YubaNet

On this day of gratitude, we feel the need to confess our little secret. We made you believe that you need to get involved in philanthropy to help your fellow citizens, live in a better community and support the local economy. But it’s time we told you the truth. Philanthropy is not just about giving to others. In fact, the health benefits of giving might make it appealing to the bigger Scrooge among us.

First, giving has proven benefits for your health and longevity. Researchers at the University of Michigan followed more than 400 senior couples over a five-year period. People who did not support others were more than twice as likely to die in the past five years as those who helped spouses, friends, relatives and neighbors by giving of their time and talent. The researchers monitored a variety of factors, including functional health, health satisfaction, health-related behaviors (such as smoking and sedentary behaviors), mental health, age, income, and level of fitness. ‘education.

Likewise, in a Carnegie Mellon University study, adults over 50 who volunteered at least 200 hours in the past year (four hours per week) were 40% less likely to develop hypertension. blood pressure than non-volunteers. This result was not limited to adults. In a study of students at a Vancouver high school, they found that students who spent an hour a week helping children in after-school programs for 10 weeks had lower inflammation and cholesterol levels, as well as a lower body mass index.

Second, giving makes you happy. In a working paper, Harvard researchers report that “at the most basic level, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence shows that giving money to charity leads to similar brain activity in the regions involved in the experience of pleasure and reward. In a study by Harbaugh, Mayr, and Burghart (2007), neural activity was recorded as participants decided how to split a $ 100 between themselves and a local food bank. The results showed that donations of the original $ 100 to the food bank led to the activation of the ventral striatum, a region of the brain associated with representing the value of a range of rewarding stimuli, from cocaine to art through attractive faces. The benefits of happiness aren’t limited to cash gifts, however, researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, of the University of California, Riverside, found similar effects when she asked people to perform acts of kindness in the city. chance over a six-week period. Safer than cocaine and cheaper than fine art, there might be more to give than, well, to give.

Third, philanthropy reduces social isolation and increases a sense of belonging. Volunteering provides ongoing opportunities for social engagement with like-minded peers. Giving your time and money has also been shown to trigger the release of oxytocin, the brain chemical that creates warm feelings associated with attachment. What’s more, according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, when you give, people perceive you more favorably and, unexpectedly, you perceive others more favorably. These perceptions encourage additional pro-social behavior towards you and your community. This social engagement appears to contribute to mental well-being and physical health, potentially even reducing the risk of developing chronic disease and dementia.

It feels good to get that out of our chests. If you decide to donate for all the wrong reasons, we promise you won’t tell anyone.

To share how you’ve been touched by philanthropy, as a donor, volunteer, or service recipient, email [email protected], and you may be featured in a future article.

This series of articles is provided by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership – itself a 501c3 nonprofit. CNL strengthens the non-profit community to realize its full potential. We are a resource center for organizations and individuals. Staff and boards of nonprofit organizations, through workshops and networks, are empowered to fulfill their missions and become stronger and more effective. To learn more, visit

Read all articles from the CNL series

Faces of CNL Philanthropy – Giving: Synchronizing Your Donations for Maximum Impact

Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Give – You Make a Difference

The faces of CNL philanthropy: Volunteering: Connecting people to passions – Connecting Point volunteer hub

The Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Volunteering: Why I Serve – The Rewards and Challenges of Serving on a Nonprofit Board of Directors

Faces of CNL Philanthropy – Volunteering: The Philanthropy of You

The faces of CNL philanthropy: the backbone and flexibility of non-profit organizations

The Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Growing Up and Taking Action

Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Partners For Good

Faces of CNL Philanthropy: Raising the Tide of Philanthropy

Faces of Nevada County Philanthropy

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