What giving to others gives to you: the connection between making an impact and feeling good
At first glance, philanthropy and positive psychology appear to have very little in common. Philanthropy is generally associated with donating to charities, doing good in the community, and creating social value–whereas positive psychology usually conjures up images of an academic approach to emotional strengths and virtues that enable people to thrive.
But there is indeed a connection. After all, philanthropy (according to the classic dictionary definition) means a “love of humanity”—in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing, and enhancing “what it is to be human” for both donors and the groups they want to support. The connection is right there. As Brooklyn’s community foundation, we’re here to help you make that connection to explore ways to give in your community, your way.
Here's just a few reasons why this connection between doing good and feeling good might inspire you to grow your charitable giving and community involvement:
First, the benefits of philanthropy aren’t limited to the good you do for others–social impact activities are also good for your health. Activities such as volunteering and giving to charities can help you live a longer life, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your stress levels, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Second, the range of social impact activities is broad, offering plenty of choices for supplementing your gifts to charity with other "doing good" activities. Giving to charities is at the foundation of the many philanthropic activities going on in the lives of Americans. Indeed Americans gave nearly $485 billion to charitable organizations in 2021 according to statistics released by Giving USA. Our culture embraces a full range of social impact behaviors that aren’t limited to giving money to charities, but also include volunteering, serving on nonprofit boards, celebrating at community events, practicing sustainable living, amplifying a favorite cause on social media, donating items of food and clothing, and sharing with family and friends in need, to name a few.
Third, philanthropic activities are good for your career and business. Community engagement has become a crucial ingredient to attract and retain today's talent. According to McKinsey & Company’s research, employees want to work for a company that embraces purpose. An employer’s community engagement program helps keep productivity high and turnover low.
Our donor services team at Brooklyn Community Foundation is always happy to discuss your overall philanthropy plan, whether that includes establishing a Donor Advised Fund or other type of vehicle to support your favorite causes, connecting you to organizations that are aligned to your values, helping establish a corporate philanthropy program for your company’s employees, or getting your family involved in giving together. As your community foundation, we’re here to help you spread love in the community, your way!