There’s more to charitable giving than writing a check or submitting a payment online. Many studies demonstrate that charitable initiatives of all kinds can be physically and mentally beneficial to the donor. And while not every individual can afford a monetary contribution, there are numerous ways to help out members of your community.
Gary Hargrave of Hargrave Ministries has a passion for giving. His work leading people to spiritual maturity through biblical studies and spiritual guidance has led him to believe in the power of generosity.
Whether it is an annual donation to reduce your tax burden or the act of donating personal items, Gary Hargrave provides insight on how to unlock the transformative power of giving.
When you are first considering a charitable donation, says Hargrave, you can start small. Charitable giving doesn’t need to render your bank account unusable. Instead, consider making small donations to causes that are important to you and take note of how this makes you feel. While you could certainly save a little extra for your dream vacation or a new car, small donations have the power to make you feel good in a more meaningful way.
Once you experience how painless small acts of generosity can be, you are more likely to understand the less tangible benefits of giving on a personal level and understand the value of giving more. A study completed in Germany found that those who donate time and resources (including money) to charitable causes actually experience greater life satisfaction. Thus, giving is beneficial to both the donor and the receiving organization or individual.
Donating cash is a great way to lower your taxable income for any given year, especially for those in higher tax brackets. However, it’s not the only way to take advantage of tax deductions. Individuals who donate furniture may also be entitled to a tax reduction, so long as they include an itemized list of contributions on their return statements.
While cash contributions are an easy way to get your feet wet, says Hargrave, donating your time as a volunteer can be equally as rewarding. He suggests finding an organization you are passionate about and taking the time to discover different ways to get involved. From hosting local fundraisers to joining a board of directors, there are endless ways to cultivate positive change in your community.
There are numerous social benefits to donating more of your time and resources to charity than you may have thought. For example, an article in Consumer Reports suggests that seniors who give back regularly, experience improved cognitive function, enhanced mobility, and spend less time alone than those who do not. Studies have also found that those who volunteer or have strong networks and communities are likely to live longer, and report feeling happier and more fulfilled.
Beyond the physical benefits, participating on a board of directors or acting as a regular volunteer can increase your social standing and influence among the organization as well as your own community. Those who spend time and resources on a cause are respected by organizations and therefore these individuals often find that their opinion carries more weight.
On a corporate level, philanthropic initiatives frequently have multiple benefits. The company raises its public profile as a community supporter but the employees also feel more engaged. They are likely to report higher job satisfaction, participate in team-building activities, and feel a sense of pride in their work.
Finally, investing in local charities has the added benefit of specifically serving your community directly. Local branches are more likely than large organizations to quickly respond to crises and disasters than parent organizations, therefore directly benefiting the donors, explains Hargrave. Also, donating resources to these organizations ensures their longevity and ability to continue to serve the community for years to come.
Charitable giving can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s easy to dip your toe and test the waters with smaller financial donations before you build up the confidence to contribute more frequently. If finances are an issue, money is not the only option. Donating time and resources can have the same mental and physical effects on your health as cash donation.
Volunteerism is another great way to get involved and simultaneously ensure you experience increased life satisfaction, reduced stress, and overall happiness. As a lifelong champion of generosity and giving, Hargrave firmly believes that charitable giving is an important investment in one’s own health and general well-being. Unlocking these benefits is as simple as getting started.
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