Study Shows Giving Makes People Feel Good

November 27, 2012       Zach Halper      

The long lines and stress associated with last week’s Black Friday are hardly things that make people feel great but, according to a new study there is one thing that lifts peoples’ mood this holiday season: Giving to others.

The study, the results of which were released today in conjunction with #GivingTuesday, a national day that encourages others to donate to their favorite charities, was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of San Francisco, Calif.-based crowdfunding platform Razoo.

The majority of respondents (60 percent) reported feeling hope that they are making a difference, followed by feeling satisfied (48 percent), good about themselves (43 percent), and excited (28 percent). The only negative emotions reported still put giving in a positive light. For example, 17 percent felt frustrated because they wished they could give more, while 6 percent felt guilty they had what others do not. Only 6 percent of respondents said they have never given to those in need.

Some 45 percent of the 2,059 respondents said that giving provided them the most pleasure, ranking behind being in love (56 percent) and hugging their children (48 percent). But, it did beat eating gourmet meals (27 percent) and working out at the gym (24 percent). The activity that the least amount of respondents said gave them the most pleasure was going on a first date (9 percent).

Lesley Mansford, CEO of Razoo, said that it was especially important for Americans to be reminded about giving during the holidays, when many people are focused on individual goals. She mentioned that giving via the company’s online platform was down 30 percent last week. “People were thinking about shopping, not giving,” she explained.

That’s why she believes a day like Giving Tuesday will be a powerful reminder to Americans about the good that comes from donating to causes. “I think it’s a great way to unite the philanthropic industry behind one day. Coming off the massive shopping days and the overall indulgence of Thanksgiving, I think the timing is perfect.”

Another encouraging sign for charities is that a large percentage of Americans plan to make charitable donations this season. Some 80 percent of respondents said they were at least “somewhat likely” to give, while 50 percent said they were “very likely.” Only 20 percent said they were not likely to give this holiday season.

“We were pleasantly surprised that even during these trying times, people still want to give back,” said Mansford. “I think it’s really wonderful to hear that.”

Other results from the study include:

  • 98 percent of Americans feel connected to a charitable cause;
  • 67 percent think people relate especially well to child welfare causes;
  • 49 percent think people relate best to animal welfare organizations;
  • More than half of U.S. adults who have ever donated to those in need feel that their giving will make a difference, with women (65 percent) feeling this more than men (54 percent); and,
  • Of those respondents who listed themselves as unemployed, 47 percent said they would still donate to charities.

Yet of all the stats gathered from the report, one really stuck out to Mansford. “One of the stats I really loved is the fact that so many parents (71 percent) thought they should teach their kids about giving before the age of five. That’s something we think a lot about – how can we introduce this gift of giving at a young age?”