We all know that warm, fuzzy feeling associated with doing a good deed, but it turns out we can pinpoint the benefits of putting others first. According to the Harvard Business School, a study showed that participants who gave money to someone else experienced more happiness than spending on themselves. These results support a greater belief that altruism, is a common trait of the happiest, healthiest people.
A 1999 study out of the Buck center for Research in Aging showed that high volunteering seniors had a 63 percent lower mortality than non-volunteers, according to NIH.gov. Along with altruism's social and health benefits, charitable giving offers a financial benefit. Donors can write off all money donated to charitable funds on their taxes.
Charity NavigatorWith so many worthy charities, it's difficult to decide where your money will be best used. Charity Navigator provides some insight into hundreds of charities, rating each organization based on transparency and how much of the funding the charity receives actually helps people. This giving guide also categorizes outstanding charities into top ten lists, including charities worth watching, charities in financial trouble and charities expanding in a hurry.
Visit Charitynavigator.com to bone up on your Charity knowledge. From there, you'll be well-informed to donate to a worthy cause. When you're ready to donate, LifeLock charity information will keep you from falling for common charity scams.
Getting Kids InvolvedVolunteering can start at any age. Getting kids in on volunteering and helping out is a great opportunity to teach them the importance of giving back and lending a helping hand. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach noted on Oprah.com that "we all want to raise good kids, and part of doing that is giving them real responsibilities, above and beyond doing the dishes." Have the younger ones (ages 6-10) get involved by helping at food banks or spending time with elderly people, playing games with them like checkers or chess. Boteach says that senior citizens are thrilled to see youngsters, especially if they don't have grandkids of their own.
Teenagers should be allowed to flex their charity muscles by volunteering at local animal or homeless shelters. The holiday season is already here, and places like these can use all the help they can get. From passing out food to taking dogs for walks, the holiday season is the busiest time of year for volunteer work.
Red CrossIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the American Red Cross is leading relief efforts on the East coast. According to CNN, donations to the disaster relief organization topped for Hurricane Sandy relief topped $130 Million. One of the leading factors of the American Red Cross' success is its wide accessibility. Redcross.org features an easy process to donate funds online, and mobile donors can contribute $10 to relief efforts by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999.
If you're short on time but would like to donate to an effective cause, consider supporting this renowned relief organization.