Giving "High" Brings Warm Glow To Donors

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A healthy giving lifestyle results in living happier lives.

Science has proven than giving can make you "high" -- or more accurately, give you a "warm glow". The July 2007 issue of Science Magazine highlighted a study of neurological responses to voluntary giving. The results point to an observable "high" exhibited by people giving generously.

"It's abundantly clear from a number of studies that people who live generous lives also live happier lives," says Dr. Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Post, who clearly revels in the work he's doing, has sponsored studies on giving at 54 major universities.

If the effects of a generous lifestyle are so beneficial, what prevents more people from giving? According to Mission Increase Foundation president Dave Farquhar, the answer could be the way that charities are asking for money.

"Nonprofits often take the joy out of giving." Farquhar contends. "They're convinced that, deep down, people don't like to give. As a result, they develop fund raising strategies based on taking, or even guilt motivation, rather than encouraging giving."

"The fact is people do benefit, even get a high, from giving." notes Farquhar. "It's time nonprofits understood that giving does not require guilt motivation, gimmicks, or gizmos."

"Once ministries realize that donors want to give, it changes their perspective," Farquhar says. "Instead of asking on the basis of the organization's need, ministries should focus on the needs that donors have to give in a way that's meaningful and personal."

"Christian donors want more than their name on a plaque," observes Farquhar. "They want to make an impact, to teach their kids to be generous, to interact personally with those to whom they're giving."

Farquhar says it is necessary to teach Christian nonprofits how to put the joy back in giving. "Ministries must begin with the conviction that Jesus was serious when He said it was better to give than to receive."

When that happens, it's no surprise that givers experience a high. "Remember where the Bible says God loves a cheerful giver?" Farquhar asks. "Well, a cheerful giver often starts with a cheerful asker---someone who genuinely believes and lives out the truth that 'giving' has 'receiving' beat."

For more information on Mission Increase Foundation's free monthly fund raising training workshops in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, and Colorado Springs, go to http://www.missionincrease.org.

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Matt Baxter
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