A while back I was watching a rather interesting news program that profiled the “giving” and “charitable” habits of Americans as researched by Arthur C. Brooks, author of Who Really Cares, Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Nonprofit Studies Program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
What really stood out about the interview was not just the apparent evidence that suggest those who have less tend to give much more (time, money and resources) but also an overwhelming suggestion that those who give more, experience greater prosperity and health.
Sounds to me like this research shows… the true gift is in the giving (not just the receiving)!
Interesting statistics from Arthur Brooks’s website:
Giving supports economic growth and actually creates prosperity.
Many studies show that giving and volunteering improve physical health and happiness, and lead to better citizenship. In other words, we need to give for our own good. Cultural and political influences – and the many government policies – that discourage private charitable behavior have negative effects that are far more widespread than people usually realize.
Upper level income people often give less than the working poor.
Among Americans with above-average incomes who do not give charitably, a majority say that they “don’t have enough money.” Meanwhile, the working poor in America give a larger percentage of their incomes to charity than any other income group, including the middle class and rich.
The working poor in America give more to charity than the middle class.
The American working poor are, relative to their income, some of the most generous people in America today. The nonworking poor, however-those on public assistance instead of earning low wages-give at lower levels than any other group. In other words, poverty does not discourage charity in America, but welfare does.
People who are religious give more across the board to all causes than their non-religious counterparts.
There is a huge “charity gap” that follows religion: On average, religious people are far more generous than secularists with their time and money. This is not just because of giving to churches-religious people are more generous than secularists towards explicitly non- religious charities as well. They are also more generous in informal ways, such as giving money to family members, and behaving honestly.
- People who give money charitably are 43 percent more likely to say they are “very happy” than nongivers and 25 percent more likely than nongivers to say their health is excellent or very good.
- A religious person is 57% more likely than a secularist to help a homeless person.
It doesn’t matter how much you have (or don’t have). It doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what color of skin you have, or your IQ. What matters most is taking the time to think of someone else more than yourself and prove it through what you give (time, money and/or resources).
Who really cares? It’s those who are willing to invest what they have to better the life of another.