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Benefits of Giving Back

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Whether you donate money or time, giving back is beneficial and not just for the recipients. Research shows that after all,there is truth and merit to the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive”.

Research on why volunteers choose to volunteer shows that 70 percent of volunteers do it because they like doing something useful and helping others. The other 30 percent said they enjoy doing volunteer work and brings on good feelings about themselves.

Besides feeling good about yourself for doing something for others, giving back is also good for your physical health as well as increased self-esteem. Volunteers report they experience both greater personal empowerment and better health with giving back. Doing for others may stimulate the release of endorphins, which has been linked to improved nervous and immune system functions, too.

Many people report a “high” from volunteering, similar to the good feelings that come from exercise. Others have found that volunteering can help fight depression. Helping others can help take your mind off your own problems and enable you to see the bigger picture. Once you see the difference you can make in another person’s life, your own problems can seem smaller and more manageable.

As more research is showing that people with fewer social contacts have shorter life spans than people with wide social circles, regardless of race, income level or other lifestyle factors. If you are lonely or live in an area far away from friends and family, volunteering is one way to build a social life,build community, and improve your emotional and physical health at the same time.

Here are some of the good reasons to give back :
~Good for your health
Stinginess or the trait of selfishness is linked with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Research shows that people who give back and volunteer their time and money live longer and have less stress.

~Gaining skills, knowledge and expertise are common side effects of volunteering.
Giving others your time brings you interesting and challenging opportunities that might not come along otherwise. This experience can be added to your resume and could result in a better paying job in the future.

~Make social connections. Loneliness and boredom are common among retirees, students, and transplants to a new city. Volunteering can relieve this sense of social isolation and help you fill empty hours in the day.

~Give back to your community. It keeps the cycle of good,going. Doing something for the community you live in and returning the favor to those who have helped you are strong motivators. Everyone, rich or poor, takes from society, and volunteering is one way to show a sense of appreciation.

~Develop and grow as a person. Volunteering is an excellent way to explore your likes and dislikes. If you’re interested in a new career, volunteer in the field first to see if you will actually like it. You may find a totally unrelated field is a much better fit for you, one you’d never consider if you hadn’t volunteered there first.

~Gain a new perspective. Life can be hard and when you’re feeling down, your problems can seem insurmountable. Volunteering can offer a new perspective—seeing people who are worse off than you are, yet still hanging in there, can help you see your life in a whole new light.

~Know that you’re needed. Feeling needed and appreciated are important, and you may not get that appreciation from your paid work or home life where the things you do are expected or taken for granted. When you volunteer, you realize just how much you are truly needed. Meeting people who need your help is a strong incentive to continue.

~Boost your self-esteem. Many volunteers experience a sense of increased self-esteem and greater self-worth. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves.

Research has shown that the good feelings you experience when helping others may be just as important to your health as exercise and a healthy diet. But it’s the smile from a child or thankful person that shows you’re really making a difference in someone’s life. And that’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Tips for volunteering or donating your time and money.

~Choose something meaningful to you:

There are so many organizations in need of volunteers and funding to support their cause. Research one that resonates for you to facilitate continuous interest in staying with the organization to feel passionate about giving back.

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For example, I personally have been involved with a charity that supports empowerment and is saving lives in Africa, called Shoe4Africa.
It is a grass roots organization that began inadvertently with health, donating shoes to prevent hookworm, and malaria. We collected old running sneakers and shipped them to impoverished areas.
With years of growth and help from the volunteers,and funding our organization took on bigger projects in which we built East Africa, it’s first ever public teaching children’s hospital (105-bed). Our belief is “A healthy Africa is one that will be self-reliant and a strong foothold for the future generation of positive change.”

~Start Small..
Don’t take on a project that is too big and might be too challenging or overwhelming for you.
You want to feel the reward in giving back rather than feel stressed from your commitment or down on yourself for not being able to complete the task.

~Save money..
Whatever percentage of money you feel comfortable with whether its 10 percent of your weekly salary, less or more start saving to donate to be able to donate to a charity that is meaningful to you.

~Reach out ..
Reach out to a friend, co worker or family member that might be interested in joining you on your efforts to volunteer. Having the support will generate more momentum.

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