Charitable Giving Is ‘A Pure Act of Kindness’
With our fast-paced lifestyles and constant distractions, charitable giving is a timeless reminder of our shared humanity.
At its core, charity is a beautiful expression of compassion and generosity. It is the embodiment of our collective desire to alleviate suffering, uplift communities, and create positive change.
Often synonymous with philanthropy, altruism, kindness, or goodwill, charity turns gratitude into action by providing assistance, resources, or support to individuals, organizations, or causes.
“Charity is about reaching out to others and not expecting anything in return,” explained Natalie Carlisle, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Food For The Poor. “It’s a pure act of kindness.”
Charitable Giving Is the Cornerstone of Our Society
According to the United Nations, over half the world’s population, including 1 billion children, lives in poverty. Charitable organizations like Food For The Poor exist to help provide millions of people with a path out of poverty into a healthier, brighter future.
Giving back is how we turn gratitude into action that transforms lives for both givers AND receivers. Nonprofit organizations like Food For The Poor work hard every day to help make that happen.
And as it turns out, there’s a bonus – giving is really good for our health!
Research shows that giving can enrich your life, unite your community, and connect you to people and ideas that will positively impact your perspective for the rest of your life.
5 Benefits of Charitable Giving
1 – It Fosters a Sense of Purpose and Personal Fulfillment. Charitable giving allows us to contribute to causes we care about deeply, providing a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Knowing our actions positively impact the lives of others can bring a profound sense of satisfaction, boosting overall well-being and happiness.
Donors can attest to the benefits of giving. “One of the greatest gifts in life is being able to help others in need,” Food For The Poor donor John Bray said. “The joy that it brings is irreplaceable.”
John and his wife, Melinda, are business owners whose contributions have provided homes for four needy families. “It does make us feel good to be part of your charity, knowing that lives are being changed when these homes are built,” he said.
“I did want to include the team at work so they could share in the joy of being a helping hand to others in need,” John Bray said. “We have made it a company tradition to give to your organization over the past few years and we pray that God blesses us so we can continue to do so for many more.”
2 – It’s Good for Our Mental Health. Practicing gratitude regularly has been linked to improved mental health. When we act generously – through financial donations or giving a loved one the gift they really want for a holiday – it creates more interaction between the parts of the brain associated with processing social information and feeling pleasure.
“Giving is not only biblical,” Carlisle said. “Neuroscience has demonstrated it is a powerful pathway for creating more personal satisfaction and better overall health.”
That’s because when we help someone or give a gift, our brain produces more dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin which positively impact mood and disposition.
An NIH study found that when people give to charities, the regions in the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust are activated, releasing endorphins in the brain, a feeling known as “the helper’s high.”
Another study, conducted by Harvard Business Professor Michael Norton, went as far as to say that spending money on others brings us happiness.
However we choose to give, whether it’s our time, our talent, or our treasure, it’s abundantly clear that the benefits of charity extend far beyond the financial advantages.
3 – It Improves Physical Health. Being generous and grateful has positive effects on our physical health.
Research shows that when we give to others, we experience a boost in our happiness that has some interesting results, including a stronger immune system, increased resilience in the face of stress, a stronger heart, less risk of cardiovascular disease, and quicker recovery times when overcoming illness or surgery.
By expressing thankfulness and appreciating the positive aspects of life, we can lower blood pressure and reduce our stress and anxiety levels, all of which make us much healthier. Moreover, giving fosters a positive outlook on life and helps individuals cope with challenges more effectively.
4 – It Strengthens Social Bonds and Builds Unity. Acts of generosity and charitable giving not only create a sense of unity among people. They can create a culture of giving.
When people come together to support a common cause, social bonds are strengthened and a sense of community is created, which promotes empathy and compassion. Helping your community is an opportunity for you to grow as a person, to better understand how you fit into the world around you.
Carlisle, who has seen firsthand the impact of donor generosity, shared the story of a mother she met in Choloma, a community in Honduras supported by Food For The Poor. That woman turned her life around after attending skills training classes offered in her community. It was there she learned nail treatment and created her own business, generating income for her family.
Today, this mother dedicates one day a week to go into other areas and teach other women how to do nails so they can have the opportunity she’s had to earn an income and take care of their children.
“Charity is a lifeline for a lot of people because it connects them to people who have a common interest,” Carlisle said. “They share something.”
5 – It Inspires Positive Change. Charitable giving has a ripple effect of positive change. In other words, charity is contagious. When one person takes action, it can often motivate others to do the same.
Acts of kindness and charity, Carlisle said, “illustrate the beauty in others and love for our fellow man. The willingness of people to do something to help another person with no expectation of benefit to self is inspiring.”
For the Brays, this meant starting a tradition at the shop of inviting staff to join them in giving. And while not everyone joined the effort, John said he and Melinda were very happy that “there were many others at the shop who shared in the joy of helping others in need.”
As Carlisle noted: “When people see this and then participate in some small way, they feel the benefit and are often moved to do more to feel more.”
“I would not necessarily say giving is contagious,” Bray concluded, “but I would say that one of the greatest gifts in life is being able to help others in need.”
It’s Never Too Late to Start a Charitable Giving Plan
The world is full of people and causes that need our attention and there are a diverse number of ways charitable giving manifests itself, from grassroots efforts to large-scale philanthropy.
It’s never too late to begin your own legacy of charitable giving. Whether you are a seasoned philanthropist or just setting out on your charitable journey, there are countless ways your generosity can transform lives and help shape a better world.
“Choose something significant to you. And take that first step,” Carlisle recommended. “Don’t wait. Don’t overthink it. Don’t look for that perfect opportunity but do something now.”
Take Your First Step Today and Start Changing Lives
Once you take that first step, Carlisle said, “if you have a willing spirit, and you’re going for it, something is going to happen that will be good and memorable.”
Remember, the lives you change will include your own. Food For The Poor can help you take that first step to becoming a catalyst of change. Visit www.FoodForThePoor.org and choose your charitable journey today!