Humans are biologically wired for generosity. Evolutionary scientists speculate that altruism has such deep roots in human nature because helping and cooperation promote the survival of our species. Darwin himself argued that it is “an essential part of the social instincts.”
Acting generously activates the reward pathway in our brains, which may help to explain why giving feels so good.
But the benefits are not limited to feeling good. There’s a significant body of research that points to altruism being good for our health:
- Spending money on others may lower our blood pressure.
- People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains, better overall physical health, and less depression.
- Older people who volunteer or regularly help friends or relatives have a significantly lower chance of dying.
- Giving social support, such as time, effort, or goods, is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with a longer life expectancy.
- Those who volunteer have a greater quality of life, feel greater vitality and self-esteem.
Generosity is also associated with benefits in the workplace, such as reducing the likelihood of job burnout, and in relationships, where it is associated with more contentment and longer-lasting relationships.
Benefits of altruism for children
These benefits aren’t unique to adults. Whilst there are critical milestones that children hit with regards to sharing and empathy at an early age, it’s at around five years old that children begin to see themselves as valuable members of a group.
Participating in events that support the wider community:
- Assists children in actively understanding the role that they can play within it
- Enables them to understand how their actions and participation can support others through hard times
- Broadens their perspective on the challenges and diversity that other children and families may be living with
- Contributes to their moral judgement and provides a better understanding of being a responsible citizen of the community
- Gives children a sense of empowerment. They see first-hand that they can make a positive change in their communities
Also, part of the planning process for any fundraiser is coming up with clear goals. When you integrate students into the planning process, they can see not only how goals come into being, but how you plan to meet that goal, while it also assists them in being committed to the cause.
This can also assist students in other areas and enables them to understand the process behind organising and putting it into play until the end outcome is achieved.