In Favor of Philanthropy

Did you hear? National Philanthropy Day is coming up—November 15, in fact. National Philanthropy Day is a time for us to stop and reflect on the way charitable organizations, foundations, and individuals have worked to provide for those around them. Philanthropy touches our communities, our governments, and the world at large.

Philanthropy is a pretty great thing. At least, we think so. But we’d love to convince you to think the same. Here are our top three reasons to celebrate National Philanthropy Day.

Philanthropy is Good for You
One of the little considered benefits of being involved in philanthropy is that it actually benefits you, as a donor to a cause. And we aren’t just talking about charitable giving tax deductions here. Giving things away—your time, your money—can actually be good for your physical and mental health.

Michael Norton gave a well-received Ted talk (one million online views and counting) on how to buy happiness. His method? Spending money on others. Studies show that people who are given money to spend on themselves rate their satisfaction consistently lower than those who are directed to spend that money on someone else. Helping others actually helps you.

Philanthropy is Good for Businesses
More and more businesses these days embrace philanthropic efforts through cause marketing, which involves coupling their business efforts with a nonprofit entity’s. This is good for nonprofits, but it’s also good for the businesses they’re working with. reports that a whole “79% of Americans say they would be likely to switch from one brand to another, when price and quality are about equal and if the other brand is associated with a good cause.”

That means that businesses benefit directly from philanthropy by attracting more philanthropically-minded customers. Everyone wins. Furthermore, many businesses also promote giving their employees one day monthly to volunteer. Satisfied employees mean better business, and considering the benefits of personal philanthropy outlined above, those individuals will be happy for the opportunity to give back.

Philanthropy is Good for the World
Finally, and most obviously, philanthropy is good for the world. Let’s face it: not everyone’s dealt a great hand. The world’s resources are not distributed evenly, leaving many with more than they need, while others hurt.

Philanthropy is a way for individuals and groups of people to do just a little bit to correct the world’s problems. And National Philanthropy Day means we can stop and think about just how special a gift that is. With that extra bit of time or money we have available, we can literally change lives.

And not just the lives of others, but our own lives. Those who give can’t help but be changed by it—for the better.

Thanks to those who give: today is about you.