Boy at the Ruben Centre – photo via 500 Supporters’ Group
I once asked a senior executive who was involved on numerous boards and charities, how he found the time to do it all. His answer was simple, “I get back twice as much as I put in,” he said. To him, giving was its own reward.
It is a view supported by a survey of 200,000 adults in 136 countries, who answered questions about their charitable donations and happiness. After household income and other demographic factors were taken into account, they received a boost in their well-being from having given in the past month; as high as it would be if they doubled their household income.
It is not entirely motivated by altruism either. Researchers believe our brain records a naturally selected system of short-term rewards for behaviour that aids our long-term survival.
It is the time of year when we think about giving. You may already have a charity that you support, but if you are looking for a good cause, you might consider the work being done by the 500 Supporters’ Group spearheaded by Patrick O’Brien. Business leaders contribute $500 per year for the Ruben Centre which supports families in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The Ruben Centre is a not-for-profit community based services organisation supported by the Edmund Rice Foundation.
Supporters funds are tax deductible and channelled direct to the Ruben Centre to provide primary healthcare, education and social support within the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, who are amongst the poorest of the poor. Just on 3,000 children are educated at the Ruben Centre, all of whom receive a daily meal which is often the only meal each child will have for the day. One of the latest social initiatives is an FM radio station ‘for and by’ the people of the slum.
This year the 500 Supporters’ Group has raised over $500,000 bringing the total to around $5M since its establishment. The group’s membership has grown steadily over the last decade and many supporters have been passionate donors for even longer, happy in the knowledge that they are providing financial ‘bedrock’ for the Ruben Centre, when other large promised contributions have failed to materialise.
Are you getting the reward of giving?
Best regards, Brian