Giving To Others Makes Us Happy

  • October 25, 2023
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness
  • GreenPath Financial Wellness is a trusted national nonprofit with more than 60-years of helping people build financial health and resiliency. Our NFCC-certified counselors give you options to manage credit card debt, student loans and homeownership.


  • Giving to others provides numerous benefits such as enhanced well-being, healthy social interaction, and even physical improvements.
  • With some planning, it’s possible to give to others without putting pressure on personal finances.
  • Budget-friendly giving tips include participating in community clean-ups, donating unused items for rummage sales, to advocating for important causes.

Everyone talks about “paying it forward,” and researchers seem to agree that if you give more, you’ll get more.

But giving to others doesn’t have to put pressure on your budget. Donating your time can have a profound impact on your own personal happiness and mental health, while also spreading joy to others.

Findings show that getting involved with community service provides numerous benefits including:

  • Enhanced Well-being: Studies suggest that participating in community service is linked to improved overall well-being, including increased happiness, satisfaction, and a sense of purpose in life.
  • Physical Health Benefits: Community health leads to physical health! Research indicates that contributing to community well-being is associated with improved physical health outcomes, such as reduced risk of developing high blood pressure and a lower mortality rate.
  • Mental Health Improvement: Volunteering and giving has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as increased self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
  • Social Integration and Support: Volunteering provides opportunities for individuals to build social connections and networks, leading to increased social integration and support, which are crucial for mental and emotional well-being.
  • Skill Development and Career Advancement: Engaging in volunteer work often allows individuals to develop and enhance a diverse set of skills, which can positively impact career advancement and personal growth.
  • Community and Societal Impact: Research highlights the significant role that volunteers play in contributing to community development and addressing social issues, thereby fostering a sense of civic responsibility and making a positive impact on society as a whole.

Overall, the research supports the notion that contributing to our community is not only beneficial for the recipients of the service but also for those stepping up for the greater good of society.

Spread Joy and Save Money

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Budget-Friendly Giving

In essence, giving to others, no matter your financial constraints, results in a sense of connectedness, empathy, and goodwill that can create a positive change in both the giver and the recipient.

If you’re on a budget, here are practical ideas to give to others without putting pressure on personal finances:

  • Volunteer Time and Skills: Offer your time and skills to local community organizations, schools, or nonprofits. Are you crafty or skilled in the kitchen or with power tools? You can contribute by assisting with events, teaching, mentoring, or providing professional services. Even if you don’t have specialized skills to offer, you can offer to drive volunteers or set up events.
  • Show Up at a Fundraising Event: Put in the work at a local fundraising event. Connect with a favorite charity or community center to support their fundraising events. From posting signs to collecting donations or helping to take entry tickets, showing up to support an event in person can be a fun way to contribute to a good cause without personal financial strain.
  • Participate in Community Cleanups: Show up to clean up! Join community-led initiatives focused on cleaning up local parks, streets, or public areas. All it takes is a few garbage bags and some healthy exercise. Contributing to a cleaner environment helps improve the overall well-being of the community.
  • Organize or Participate in Skill-Sharing Workshops: Share your knowledge with individuals or community groups. To empower others, organize workshops or join existing programs that promote skill sharing. This could include teaching basic computer skills, language classes, or crafting workshops.
  • Support Local Initiatives: Keep an eye out for local merchants or artists. Show support for local businesses, artisans, and entrepreneurs by buying locally produced goods and services. This not only helps the local economy but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration.
  • Provide Emotional Support: Many seniors or others in your community likely experience isolation – especially during holidays. Offer emotional support and companionship to community members who may be lonely, isolated, or going through a difficult time. Simple acts of kindness, such as checking in on neighbors or visiting the elderly, can make a significant impact.
  • Advocate for Positive Change: Get involved in advocacy and community activism by raising awareness about important local issues, attending town hall meetings, and engaging in constructive dialogue to bring about positive changes in your community. Use your voice and social media platforms to raise awareness about the cause or charity you support. Sharing information and encouraging others to get involved can make a significant impact without any financial cost.
  • Share Resources: There’s no need to buy goods for community organizations that are in need. Share resources you have, such as books, tools, or equipment, with community members or local organizations. This can foster a culture of sharing and cooperation within the community.
  • Participate in Community Events: Engage in community events, performances, festivals, and gatherings. Your active participation can contribute to a vibrant and cohesive community spirit, even without a financial contribution.
  • Donate Unused Items: Many organizations sponsor seasonal “Rummage Sales.” Declutter your home and donate gently used clothing, household items, or furniture to a local charity. This not only helps those in need but also allows you to contribute without spending any money.
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By actively participating in these activities, we can significantly contribute to our communities and create a positive impact for both ourselves and our neighbors without the need for substantial financial resources.

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Julie Rogier (She/Her)

With a multi-decade career in communications, Julie Rogier serves on GreenPath’s content marketing team. She has presented on financial wellness for groups including the 2021 and 2022 Financial Services Midwest Summit, and regularly writes about financial health and wellness for several publications including U.S. News and World Report.

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Greenpath Financial Wellness

GreenPath Financial Wellness is a trusted national nonprofit with more than 60-years of helping people build financial health and resiliency. Our NFCC-certified counselors give you options to manage credit card debt, student loans and homeownership.