Finding Fulfillment from Giving

What could be more central to the human experience than desire for happiness and meaning? Yet as we know, these attainments are far out of reach for millions living in poverty around the world. The good news is that research shows a correlation between philanthropy and happiness; in other words, putting some of your resources towards improving the lives of others is shown to improve YOUR life as well. It’s a win-win. Read on to learn more.


Why the Rich Fail at Philanthropy
Author Eric Friedman argues that while Bill and Melinda may embody the ideal of ultra rich philanthropists dedicating themselves to those less fortunate, this is by no means the standard among the rich—even among rich philanthropists. Many treat philanthropy like a personal hobby, writing checks for things they like that may provide some societal benefit, rather than trying to do the most to help others.
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Walking the Walk of Effective Giving and Christianity
TLYCS follower Jay Dykstra, M.D. reflects on the impact that Peter Singer, effective altruism, and his Christian faith have had on his life, family, and deep personal fulfillment.
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How You Can Give Back When You Can't Afford Cash Donations
From hurricanes to homelessness, there are plenty of charities seeking donations from well-meaning individuals looking to save some money on their taxes, amongst other things.
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Feeling Down? The Unexpected Pick-Me-Up...
If you’re feeling a little down, there’s always the tried and true methods of self-care: sleep, diet, exercise. But there’s another proven tactic that people often don’t think of, yet it’s far easier than getting yourself to the gym or saying no to a slice of cake: acts of kindness.
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Changing What's on Our Plate
TLYCS Volunteer José Oliveira, an art teacher in Portugal, reflects on items he gave up, like a few coffees and beers each week, allowing him to donate more towards addressing extreme poverty. Bonuses included feeling happier and healthier himself. Try his "Personal Luxuries" calculator with items from your own "plate".
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Taking Distributions When You Don’t Need the Money to Live on
A 68 year old divorced man with two grown children wants to know how he can avoid paying unnecessary taxes on required distributions from his retirement accounts, which is money that he does not currently need. Can charitable giving provide a solution to this man's predicament?
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Part III: How to change your behavior and achieve your personal best
For those of us whose awareness and behavior are not so inherently or concertedly altruistic, I believe we can follow a program wherein we intentionally build up our consciousness and actions to alter our “normal” giving behavior so it more closely aligns with our goals and values around protecting lives; we can escape, or redefine, normal. By following these steps, we can become more educated about effective giving and build elements into our lives that help us remain aware of and committed to devoting more of our resources to improving and even saving the lives of our fellow human beings who desperately need our assistance.
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Part II: Understanding “normal” giving behavior
One reason for the poverty/giving disconnect is that our brains are not equipped to focus on multiple variables simultaneously, so we prioritize those needing immediate attention. This can explain at least part of why we have trouble keeping in mind what the global poor are going through when our teenage child is having a social crisis, or our spouse wants a kitchen remodel.
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Part 1: Escaping Normal
There is a disconnect for many of us between the supreme moral value we place on human life and the way we are able to tune out awareness of the millions of people globally who are caught in a downward spiral because they had the misfortune to be born into extreme poverty. In principle, we feel all people deserve a chance to have a happy, healthy life, yet we turn a blind eye to the 702 million people who live (or try to live) on less than $1.90 per day.
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I gave away $2,239.93 last year. Here's where it went.
Since committing to effective altruism in 2013, I have given away thousands of dollars to many different charities. Looking back on 2015, how did I do?
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