Giving is Good – And Good for You

Celebrate National Philanthropy Day by finding opportunities to do good and give.

By Don Milne Nov 14, 2017

November 15 is National Philanthropy Day. Let’s give a big hand to those who give.

According to the World Gallup Poll, which country’s citizens give the most to charity? If you guessed Myanmar, you got it right. But if you guessed the United States, you almost got it right. The U.S. came in second in 2016 and has actually been ranked number one in previous years. Americans are a generous people.

Digging deeper, which state’s citizens do you think give the most to charity? Out of 50 states, Utah is ranked first and Idaho is ranked third, according to WalletHub. And it’s not just about giving money. When it comes to giving time, Utah again ranked first and Idaho is ranked fifth.

Participating in our communities of giving throughout Utah and Idaho is also part of Zions Bank’s mission. Zions supports dozens of organizations from the American Cancer Society to the YMCA. Many of the nonprofits in your community receive support from Zions Bank.

Living in a community where giving is second nature makes Utah and Idaho great places to live. But giving is something that doesn’t come naturally. Just look at two toddlers who want to play with the same toy. We have to learn to give. It is a lesson well worth learning.

In his book “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” organizational psychologist and Wharton School professor Adam Grant says it is not people who put their interests above others who succeed the most. Rather, it is those who help others while, paradoxically, expecting nothing in return, who achieve the highest levels of success.

There are many other reasons to embrace the habit of giving. The Cleveland Clinic reports great health benefits from being a giver:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less depression
  • Lower stress
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Longer life
  • Greater happiness

So maybe all these givers who live in Idaho and Utah know something. It seems to work so well that they just keep doing it. To get into the habit of giving, set aside a portion of every paycheck for charitable causes, just as you would save a set amount each month for emergencies, for example. Do the same thing with your free time — put a volunteer opportunity on your calendar each month.

There are more worthy charities than anyone could support, but it is easier than you think to find organizations that match up with causes you feel passionate about. Try using Charity Navigator. This website rates the results reporting, financial health, accountability and transparency of hundreds of charities. Finally, ask your employer if they will match your donation — making your contribution go twice as far.

The late Utah and Idaho businessman and philanthropist Larry H. Miller got it right when he said: “Go out into the world and do good until there is too much good in the world.”

Celebrate National Philanthropy Day by finding more opportunities to do good and give. It will benefit you as much as those you serve.

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