Giving is good for you!

Research is finding that giving to others makes the giver happier & healthier:

  • A 2017 study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at IUPUI found that people who give to charitable causes are happier than those who don’t, regardless of their gender and marital status. AND the more they give, the happier they are (Mesch, et al., 2017).
  • A Harvard study found showed that those who reported spending more on others also reported a greater level of happiness, while how much they spent on themselves had no impact on happiness (Dunn, Aknin, & Norton, 2014).
  • A five-year multi-institutional study found giving can protect the health and prolong lives of the altruistic (Poulin, Brown, Dillard, & Smith, 2013).
  • The act of giving also lights up pleasure centers in our brains and gives a “warm glow” feeling (Harbaugh, Mayr, & Burghart, 2007).

When you want to give $$ – check out the GiveWell list of highest impact giving opportunities supported by research.

When you want to give your time – checkout VolunteerMatch for suggestions on where to put your talents and passion.


Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2014). Prosocial spending and happiness: Using money to benefit others pays off. Current Directions in Psychological Science23(1), 41-47.

Harbaugh, W. T., Mayr, U., & Burghart, D. R. (2007). Neural responses to taxation and voluntary giving reveal motives for charitable donations. Science316(5831), 1622-1625.

Mesch, D., Osili, U., Okten, C., Han, X., Pactor, A., & Ackerman, J. (2017). Women Give 2017.

Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Dillard, A. J., & Smith, D. M. (2013). Giving to others and the association between stress and mortality. American journal of public health103(9), 1649-55.

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