At first glance, philanthropy and positive psychology appear to have very little in common. Philanthropy is a term generally associated with giving money to charities, doing good in the community, and creating social value.
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” on both the benefactors’ and beneficiaries’ parts. The connection is right there.
Here’s why this connection should make you feel better about amping up 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 including not only giving money to charities, but also volunteering, serving on nonprofit boards of directors, celebrating at community events, recycling and respecting a sustainable environment, marketing a favorite cause, donating items of food and clothing, purchasing products that support a cause, sharing with family and friends in need, and caring about health and wellness.
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.
The team at the FM Area Foundation is always happy to discuss your overall philanthropy plan, including establishing a donor-advised fund or other type of vehicle to support your favorite causes, providing information about the organizations you support, helping establish a corporate philanthropy program for your company’s employees, or getting your family involved in giving. We are here for you!