If you want to be happy, be generous. Backed by years of scientific study, researchers have said for years that the benefits of altruism can positively affect the wellbeing of the giver even more than the receiver. Helping us to live a longer, healthier life, being generous also enhances our feeling of self-worth as we help others. This, in turn, starts a cycle of goodness that strengthens our sense of purpose. Collectively, all this goodness results in a more positive, thriving community.
Momentum Waikato’s Vital Impact Programme provides us with a clear understanding of our region’s greatest needs. As well, the programme offers giving solutions and funding opportunities so that generous donors of every age, means and ability may experience the joy of giving.
I often talk about the ‘seven Ts’ of giving – seven different ways we can be generous, and I thought I would share these to help you think about your own ability to give and to spark ideas of how all of us can make a difference in our community. Seven ways of giving that we can utilise to be generous in some way that all happen to start with the letter T:
You have a deep desire to see change in the status quo – a thirst for a better world. There are issues you feel personally driven to address and you are motivated by an inherent belief that generosity will produce positive results.
It’s true that thoughts can change the world. You express your ideas with others, encouraging dialogue and engaging in conversations that focus on issues that can be addressed and solved by simply unpacking all the possibilities for success. Opening your mind to issues and exploring how to address them while collaborating with others can spark opportunities for change.
Sometimes it is about who you know. Consider your personal connection to the issue and ways to inform and tap into your network for collective effort and greater impact. Connecting diverse individuals and groups together can create critical mass for a cause, generate exciting ideas and help build a more dynamic generosity movement.
New Zealand's got talent. Thinking about the things you do well and how you can share those skills and abilities to help solve a problem can lead to new opportunities. Your capacity to play a supporting role to the leaders of a cause, project or programme should not be underestimated. Volunteering your talent can also be a great professional development opportunity as you apply your skills, knowledge and experience in a different context.
What is more precious than our time and energy? Direct your valuable time to a purpose that benefits others by promoting the issue, planning activities for the benefit of the cause or encouraging other to give, as well as the 'hard graft' hands on work. Time spent on noble pursuits is a mostly highly prized commodity.
In the end, money talks. In the true sense of the word, offering valuable physical assets such as cash, shares, property, items to auction, and professional services are worth their weight in gold. Donations provide the most straightforward opportunities to solve immediate needs.
Timing is everything; what might be valued today may not be tomorrow. The same is true with opportunity. Consider which of Ts you can give and when in relation to your current situation – as we go through life, we have more of some and less of others that we can be generous with.
How can we each be certain we are engaging in our best course of giving? My intention in sharing this list is to help you realise that your ability to contribute to a cause should not be hindered because you think you have nothing to give. We all have bountiful gifts to share. The sense of community forged by living a generous life provides us with an appreciation of what is so important to our future generations - a better Waikato for everyone, forever.
Raewyn KirkmanDonor and Community EngagementMomentum Waikato Community Foundation