Our Extended ‘Family’

VM 058_2011 - 011(67).jpgOn Tuesday of this week, I blogged here about how One Fund Boston had raised over $27 million dollars for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Now, only two days later, that figure is over $28 million with over $10 million now coming from individuals. Nearly one million dollars in two days! Americans are opening up their hearts and their pocket books to those damaged physically and emotionally by the events in Boston just as they have done after other natural disasters and tragedies, at home and around the world.

According to a study done several years ago by Charities Aid Foundation, America is the most philanthropic country in the world. Two-thirds of Americans donate to charity every year. As a percentage of gross domestic product, Americans give twice as much money as the next most charitable country. Studies considering what motivates the contributions have found that those with a religious affiliation tend to give more. Altruism and empathy also play a part, with givers identifying with the needy. And parents often teach their kids from an early age about the value of making charitable donations.

Volunteering is another way of giving – of time and energy. Volunteers are more engaged in their communities and feel more grateful for what they have. A survey conducted by Independent Sector found that households in which members volunteer for charitable causes also give more than twice as much to charities than do households that do not have volunteering members. They report feeling happier because of their efforts, experiencing a “helper’s high.”

What about you? How do you give yourself a “helpers high?” Think about where you’d like to volunteer next and let us hear from you about your experiences.

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