Charity is traditionally defined as the voluntary giving of help, this can be monetary or a donation of another value including food, clothes, furniture and even time. The donation is given to those in need due to living in poverty, living in high conflict zones, having suffered discrimination or are a victim due to other external factors. Charitable organisations have existed for decades and their focus is to gather donations from willing individuals and help pass these on to people and families in need in a way that directly benefits them, i.e. transforming monetary contributions into clothing, food packs, heat sources and shelters.
For some people, charity is a way of life and they aspire for nothing greater than to support those in need. For example, Zakat (meaning charity) is a fundamental part of the Islamic Religion and Muslims are some of the most generous donors in the world. The benefits of charity can be obvious when thinking of those that receive the help however, giving to charity can also offer great benefit to the donator.
Bring About Happy Feelings
One of the greatest benefits to living philanthropically, is the happy thoughts and feelings it brings. Studies and research have shown there is a direct link between increased heightened emotional wellbeing and giving to charity or spending on others. A series of experiments carried out by Dr Elizabeth Dunn showed that individuals who spent just $5 a day on somebody else felt happier at the end of the day than people who spent the $5 on themselves. Not only happier but those who give to charity are said to have greater self-esteem and a healthy feeling of self-worth too.
Benefit Those in Need
Often, those who receive charity have found themselves in situations out of their control. They might have been affected by extreme weather that has destroyed their place of livelihood, interrupted their children’s education and prevented access to clean water and safe food. Alternatively, many people in need of charity have been discriminated against through no fault of their own, including the Rohingya Muslims. The Rohingya Muslims have faced severe hardships and have been forced out of their home in Myanmar to surrounding areas. There are several charitable organisations providing the displaced Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar help, but the conflict continues, and it may be some time before they are able to settle back at home.
Improve Satisfaction with Life
Satisfaction with life is more than simply being happy with what you’ve got, it is feeling fulfilled in yourself, your community and your life choices. Happiness and satisfaction with life aren’t mutually exclusive and individuals who are happy, can still feel like something might be lacking that prevents them from feeling completely satisfied. Donating to charity can improve these feelings and help you feel more satisfied with yourself and it’s not uncommon to see satisfied communities are some of the most generous givers.
Encourage Generosity in the Next Generation
It’s no secret that children learn from example and giving to charity and showing the benefits of your contribution are an excellent way to teach children they too, can make a difference in the world. Talk to your children about different charities, how you can help each organisation and how contributions are distributed. Children who see the good effects of charity are more inclined to give themselves in the future.
There are many different charities out there, from animal welfare to dedicated protect the children groups and it’s important to find the charity that best reflects your own values and goals. Research your charity carefully before first making the decision to donate and ensure that your contributions are being spent in the most effective ways.
A quality, trustworthy charity is one that is clear on how their contributions are used and how much of donations needs to go towards covering potential admin fees. If you aren’t sure, start a conversation with the charity in question, a good charity that aren’t trying to do anything sketchy will be happy to answer all your questions and queries.