The Fulfillment of Giving

By Jean Shafiroff

by ELYSIAN Magazine

Many people who support philanthropic causes are happy people.

What makes them so happy? Simply put, there is great joy in giving. Giving time, knowledge, and available resources, as a philanthropist does, actually makes a person feel good. This is because when we know we are working and giving to help the lives of others, we feel fulfilled. 

Giving creates purpose in our lives. We add meaningful purpose to our lives by getting involved in philanthropic activities. In my book, “Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life by What You Give,” I write “True fulfillment, the feeling of being satisfied not only with your world but the role you play in it, can be achieved through the spirit of giving. It is through giving and caring for others that we understand our role and purpose in life. This is a truth known by the greatest minds of our generation and the generations that came before us.”

If a volunteer is in direct contact with those she aids, she knows how she has changed someone’s life. But if you don’t have the time to volunteer, and just have the ability to make donations, will that make you feel fulfilled? 

The answer is yes. 

You are vitally important as a donor. All charities survive based on donations. How do you know if your donations are actually helping the people, animals or the environment that a charity says it is helping? Almost all reputable charities send out progress reports. If you never receive a progress report or newsletter from a charity, then you might question whether your funds are helping. You might also want to switch charities and start donating to a charity that keeps you up to date on how it is utilizing donated funds. A good charity will keep donors abreast of what it is doing with the money being raised. This is important to all donors. Accountability is important for all charities. 

Donors often feel fulfilled even if they never meet the people they help. Studies have proven that those who are involved in the giving process reach fulfillment if kept abreast of how their funds are being utilized. 

A selfish person who only wants to give to herself or her family will probably never feel fulfilled. Kind and caring people are almost always generous – and they feel good about their giving because they know they are changing lives. 

To be a financially successful person – and not to be generous – is certainly not admirable. Ask yourself if you admire people who are not generous and who have no interest in helping those less fortunate than themselves. The answer will surely be no. 

Of course, not everyone can be generous to all causes. It is just impossible for any one person to give to all charitable causes. Even the wealthiest people in the world can’t give to every cause. They say no to causes that may not be a top priority for them. As a volunteer fundraiser for a number of causes, I have learned to graciously accept when someone says no.

In summary, giving creates fulfillment. To quote my book, “Throughout history those who have the most lasting and positive influence on society are those who made giving back a priority in their lives. They were committed to putting the needs of others before their own. … To the best of their ability and in whatever way they were most capable, they dedicated their lives to humanity.” 

Through these acts they not only help society but also reach a high level of fulfillment.

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