Supporting charity, any charity, your charity is a noble cause to have. Many millions each year donate many billions to worthwhile causes. The charitable sector has become a multi-billion dollar industry and it’s one that, like many others, I’m very pleased to be involved with in some small way.
The Selfish Side
But there is a very selfish side to charity. It’s also a side that I love and a side that drives me. Used properly, this selfish side to charity is actually of great benefit to charities and of benefit to the individuals as well.
Whether I like it or not I have an ego. I try to keep it tamed and under control. Occasionally it dominates a little too much like a naughty child that has escaped from his play pen, running wild before its parents catch him and restore order. It’s this ego that the selfish side of charity feeds.
Like many of us, I’ve done sponsored events such as a short fun run, raising money for a good cause. If I’d done the run without raising money it would have still given me some form of satisfaction. But undertaking the event and raising money for charity multiplied that factor and made me feel even more accomplished.
Psychologically, supporting charity makes us happier. A study from the University of British Columbia indicated that people felt happier when they were spending money on others instead of themselves.
When you do good, you feel good. By helping others be that donating money to charity or helping someone cross the road, you get a certain sense of satisfaction and your level of happiness increases.
We all have an internal moral compass. Some people’s moral compass is more attuned than others. No matter the precision, we all make mistakes and could operate better but having this compass to guide us, for the vast majority, will bring us back to supporting others. It’s the right thing to do.
Using Your Selfish Side to Everyones Advantage
Some people feel bad that supporting charity makes them happy. They feel bad that somehow they get pleasure in someone else’s misfortune, that it has stroked their ego. Sometimes they then stray away from donating further help or assistance.
But that isn’t the case. You feel pleasure and happiness because you’ve helped someone or something. In some small way you’ve helped to make something possible. Now turn this further to everyones advantage:
- Donate More. The more you donate the more you will get this happiness ‘rush’. You feel good and those you help get more assistance.
- Don’t Just Donate Money. How about food and blankets to the homeless? What skills do you have? Could you use them to help the charity? Donate your time, effort and expertise.
- Market What You Do. Not to boost your ego but charities need all the help they can get. Let people know you’re donating to charity and why you chose it. It’ll raise awareness for the charity concerned and might result in donations and support from others.
- Pick The Cause For You. Find something you’re really in to. Perhaps you know a family or friend that has suffered from cancer or know someone in the military. Then support one of these charities. Find something that really resonates with you. The closer your bond to the cause the more likely you are to continue any association in the longer term and provide an avenue for longer term happiness from it.
- Tax Breaks. Whether a corporation or an individual, there are tax breaks involved in giving to charity. Even if you can afford not to, make the most of them and then give even more to charity.
Strive to feel good when you support charity. It’s a good thing, not something bad. The better you feel about it, the more you’re likely to continue it. The better you feel the more the charity benefits in the longer term.
Start today. Find a charity you bond with. Take action. Make an online donation now and share the cause on social media. Then come up with a plan to follow this up and do more.
Photo by Emiliano.