Infographic: The Science of Giving
Why do people give, either to charity or to others? Turns out, giving is actually good for you. Or at the very least, it makes people feel good, and there are scientific reasons for that.
According this infographic from Happfiy, a science and technology company to help individuals lead happier, more fulfilling lives, people "get a boost of feel-good endorphins — the same ones associates with a runner's high" — when they give. That's because the hormone oxytocin, also released during sex, floods your body, lowering your stress and making you feel more connected to others. When oxytocin is released, it causes people to give more generously and feel more empathy toward others — and people generally like to keep that feeling.
That's why, according the infographic, "a single of act of kindness can inspire several more acts of generosity."
This obviously relates to fundraising and charity as well. Giving back is just as much a gift for the giver as it is for the recipient. Volunteering is associated with higher levels of life satisfaction, and according to Happify, "in 120 out of 136 countries, people who donated to charity in the past month reported a greater satisfaction with life" — and this is true for poor and rich countries alike.
Beyond the good feelings associated with giving, the infographic also provides some statistics on giving in the U.S. Turns out that 60 percent of millennials give an average of $481 to charity annually, and the five most giving states according to percentage of discretionary income that goes to charity are:
- Utah (10.6 percent)
- Mississippi (7.2 percent)
- Alabama (7.1 percent)
- Tennessee (6.6 percent)
- South Carolina (6.4 percent)
Check out the full infographic, and next time you ask someone for money, remember that giving is just as valuable to the giver as the recipient.