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Being generous makes
us happier when it includes a social dimension. Our best experiences come
from giving to people we know and having the opportunity to enjoy doing things
That’s the conclusion
from recent studies about the emotional impact of charitable donations. The
rewards have more to do with the way we give rather than the size of our
donations. We feel better when we have direct contact with the recipients
rather than mailing a check or using a website. A similar dynamic occurs when
You may already
believe that it’s better to give than receive. Now, you can use this knowledge
to make giving even better by maximizing the social connections.
Giving to People You Know
1.Nurture your loved ones. Start with your family
and close friends. Hand out sincere compliments. Celebrate their victories. Surprise
them by cooking their favorite dinner or taking out the garbage even when it is
someone else’s turn.
2.Reach out to your neighbors. Keep an eye out for
newcomers. Invite them over for coffee and cake. Bring over a batch of homemade
cookies or fresh herbs from your garden. Share leads on where to find the best
dry cleaner and lawn service.
3.Support local charities. Research
organizations that are doing good work in your own neighborhood. Visit a local
animal shelter or after school program. Ask them what resources they need most.
random acts of kindness. Brighten
the day for a stranger.
Leave a generous tip at the ice cream parlor. Carry an extra pen you can give away when
needed. Let someone with fewer items get ahead of you in line at the
5.Pick up the tab. Instead of handing out gift
certificates, invite people to join you for coffee or a movie. You’ll spread more
cheer and have a chance to get to know people better.
6.Write thank you letters. We all like to
receive recognition. Present a heartfelt message to anyone who does something
nice for you. Face to face contact will make your appreciation more vivid than
if you send an email.
7.Develop pure intentions. Prevent
disappointments by giving without any expectation of returns. Take pleasure in your own good deeds.
Doing Charitable Activities Together
as a group. Bring your family and friends along for community service work. Browse online clearinghouses where you can find group projects.
2.Travel to new places. Incorporate meaningful
work into your vacations. Extend your network and pick up new skills.
3.Serve on boards. Ask about vacancies
on the boards of organizations where you volunteer. It’s a great way to
demonstrate your capacity for leadership, work on your communication skills,
and even enhance your résumé.
4.Coordinate a workplace campaign. Ask for suggestions
about what causes your colleagues want to support. Organize a fundraiser where people
can relax and mingle like a pancake breakfast or talent contest.
5.Join a club. Check out the relevant committees at the local
chapter of your professional association. Propose a special project to your
book club or running group.
6.Perpetuate the cycle. Studies also show that people
are more likely to keep giving when social interactions make their first
experience rewarding. You’ll be welcoming more accomplishments and joy
into your future.
our lives and strengthens our communities. Reach out to others while you
support causes you care about. You’ll have a more positive impact on the world
and enjoy greater satisfaction.