The Spirit of Giving Time, Talent and Treasure
St. Francis of Assisi once noted that our time begins at birth and ends with death. For most people, it is about 25,000 days. Time is precious and once lost, can never be regained. By helping others, you are sharing your personal time for the glory of God. Talent is given to everyone not only for personal use, but to enrich the lives of others. Your special gift of talent is the only unique gift you can give for the benefit of others. Sharing treasure is a Christian need that shows gratitude to God for the material gifts bestowed to us. Your gift of treasure is a direct gift only you can give. It is in giving that we receive.
About 77 million individuals, or 30% of Americans volunteer. Motivation to volunteer changes as your passion and time leads you to live experiences. Many volunteers join nonprofits and learn to donate their specific talent as they discover more about the organization they serve. Individuals that have day jobs as consultants, find joy in consulting for nonprofits using their specific area of expertise. As volunteers grow to become a part of an organization, they enjoy donating their treasure to a higher level.
Giving time is important to our well-being. It provides a foundation to our purpose for living and helping others. Giving time works for the individual by giving them a new perception of the value of time, understanding that service of time is empowering, giving time helps you connect with like minded people, giving time provides immediate feedback and by doing more through time, and gives you true happiness. With your understanding of the importance of time value, you will make better choices and receive greater gratification from volunteer service.
Stanford Graduate School of Business research shows that helping others makes you feel like you have more time and referenced Psychological Science, which pointed out individuals helping others have increased feelings of “time affluence” as they feel their volunteer service time has greater value than spending time on personal self. Studies have shown that when people complete several tasks and responsibilities for others, they are happier and feel less time constrained. Time is valuable and is worth more when used for the greater good.
Each person in the world has unique talents and abilities that makes them special. What people can offer the world can be motivation, inspiration and encouragement to others through talent sharing. Gifts are meant to be shared with others and it gives them greater knowledge and experience.
Ways individuals can share their talents with others today is by creating something of value online. They can also volunteer to speak, educate, communicate and link their talents with others. Volunteers can also share their talents by learning to perform in front of others. When individuals have something to share, learn to share it freely and for the right reasons.
An article by Thrive Global provides seven inspiring reasons why you should use your talents or gifts. Here are the reasons:
- Other people can benefit from them.
- Other lives may change because of our talents.
- They lead to a more satisfying life.
- We can make money out of them.
- They let us leave a lasting impression on people.
- They lead to faster growth and development.
- They show appreciation to the giver.
Individual talents are like diamonds. The more we take care of them, the more we can recognize other diamonds in our lives.
People volunteer for charitable organizations because they are passionate about a particular cause. People, over time, use volunteering to expand their specialized skills. Skills-based volunteering means leveraging specialized skills and talents to enhance the missions of the organizations they serve. By serving organizations in a specialized way, you are saving the nonprofit money, honing skills, gaining experience, obtaining the opportunity to network and creating a win-win situation between the individual and charity. This concept also provides a wonderful example of service for others to follow.
Why do people give of their treasure? Americans gave a record $471 billion to charity in 2020, according to the annual Giving USA report, despite the coronavirus pandemic, job losses and racial justice issues. Recent research provides evidence that people are biologically programmed to be altruistic to a degree.
Studies have shown that both giving and receiving money triggers the brain’s dopamine-rich reward system. They even get a stronger sense of reward when they witness the positive impact of their gifts to nonprofits. Psychologists call this the “helper’s high.” There is also a connection between empathy and altruism. Volunteerism provides greater happiness and better physical and mental health. Generosity is a wonderful behavioral activity that provides wonderful feelings from positive behaviors.
The spirit of giving time, talent and treasure is important to the long-term success of nonprofits. Happy volunteers and donors will encourage others to follow suit. People may want to consider giving time, talent and treasure, especially in the coming weeks of the year. Giving benefits many good causes. The giver reaps and there are many ways people can be generous. As we approach the holidays, giving to those in need can be more meaningful to self than giving for personal gain.
Strive to give a combination of time, talent and treasure to an organization that satisfies your personal interest and needs. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.” What is more important than that philosophy?
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.