You know charitable giving is good for the community, and for the various individuals being helped by non-profit organizations providing shelters, food banks, job training, after school programs, and many other vital services to vulnerable populations.
But can it also help the people who donate and volunteer? As in, you and your employees?
The short answer is yes
Research shows that people who give back to their communities are happier and healthier than people who don’t.
But it’s not quite that simple. It’s also important to remember that individuals who donate time and money are in a position that allows them to do so, which could help explain why they are both happier and healthier. Many people who are struggling can’t give away what they don’t have.
That said, there have been plenty of studies that show how charitable giving positively affects health in a variety of ways, including increased feelings of joy, reduced stress, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and even longer life spans.
A few quick facts from the research:
- Frequent volunteering has been associated with lower blood pressure and greater psychological wellbeing.
- Brain imaging research has shown that the brain's pleasure centers became activated when people chose to donate part of a new stash of money to charity, rather than keeping it all for themselves.
- People with a higher level of meaning and purpose in life experienced better sleep quality and had lower instances of sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
- People who regularly helped their friends, relatives, and/or neighbors had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who didn't. Interestingly, receiving help wasn’t linked to a reduced death risk.
Now, just imagine if these happy, well-rested people with low blood pressure and long life expectancy were your employees. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
Wouldn’t it also be fantastic if your organization was committed to giving back to the communities where your employees live, work, and play?
Giving is good for business
Does your company have a charitable giving program in place?
- Do you offer payroll deduction or gift matching?
- Do you allow your employees to take time off to volunteer?
- Do you support causes and organizations that align with your goals and mission?
If not, it’s time to ask yourself why.
There are many other ways that giving can positively affect your business, in addition to your employees and your community. If you need a little extra convincing, here are a few great benefits that can be gained through a culture of giving:
The obvious financial benefit. Give enough money and you’ll save some later. It’s a win-win scenario! A great way to improve your community and your bottom line.
Positive image in the community
Everyone loves a feel-good story. Are you that company who provides a great product or service but gives diddly-squat back to your community? Why not be the organization who gives customers the warm fuzzies instead?
If you think people don’t really take this into consideration when making purchases, we’ve got two words for you: TOMS Shoes.
Better employee engagement
Think employees don’t really care about this kind of stuff? We’ve got two more words for you: Think again.
According to Project ROI, a well-designed corporate social responsibility program can:
- Increase employee productivity by 13%
- Increase employee engagement by up to 7.5%
- Reduce employee turnover by 50%
Clearly, employees want to be employed by businesses who care. Not just about their employees, but about their communities as well. Once they find themselves at a company that does, they will happily work harder and stick around longer.
Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Just imagine how happy your management and HR teams would be in this scenario.
Yes, charitable giving can even have positive effects on overall revenue.
The Project ROI research found that companies who invested in corporate social responsibility saw increases in revenue of as much as 20%. Twenty percent! Who doesn’t want to see that?
With all that extra profit rolling in, you can afford to be even more generous. And make your employees, your business, and your community that much happier and healthier.
Start cultivating a generous company culture today. It’s good for everyone.
Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd