Does charitable giving lead to a happier life, and if so, what are the implications for donors and fundraisers?
A new study released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute finds that people who give to charitable causes are happier than those who do not, regardless of their gender and marital status, and the more they give, the happier they are.
However, women and men experience the joy of giving in different ways, according to the WPI, part of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Men get a bigger boost in happiness when they become donors, while women experience a greater increase when they give more of their income. In households where women drive or participate equally in charitable decisions, the entire family is happier.
“This research is heartening,” the WPI’s director Debra Mesch said in a statement. “We know that people experience greater life satisfaction when they have better health, lower stress levels and so forth.
“We now know that giving also adds to life satisfaction, not just for individuals but for their entire families.”
The research, which was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was based on data from the Lilly school’s Philanthropy Panel Study, a longitudinal survey of philanthropy in the U.S.
The WPI study is the eighth in a series of research reports, dating back to 2010, that focus on gender differences in giving to charitable organizations.