According to the New Economic Foundation these 5 elements are the key to our well-being:

  1. Connect
  2. Be active
  3. Take notice
  4. Keep learning
  5. Give

In this final blog of the series I’ll be looking at ‘give’.

Giving to others can provide us with benefits as well the people we are giving to, such as:

  • Satisfaction at being able to help others
  • Pleasure from seeing others’ happiness
  • Sense of connection
  • The knowledge that we’ve made a difference in the world.

Giving creates a win win situation

Donating money to a cause close to your heart is a great way of giving. However, giving doesn’t have to be financial. It could include:

  • Giving your time e.g. spending time with an isolated neighbour or going into schools to help kids with their reading
  • Giving or using your skills e.g. teaching someone how to cook, play an instrument etc. Donating a free haircut / massage/ coaching session/ audit / book / raffle prizes
  • Volunteering with a charity
  • Being an advocate for a local cause
  • Helping out in your community e.g. litter pick, Christmas fayre
  • Random acts of kindness

Why do people give?

There are different reasons why people like to give. Sometimes someone may wish to ‘give back’ to a group or community because they were helped by them. For example fundraising for the children’s hospital where your child was treated. A person may want to share their abundance with others less fortunate than themselves. It may be a cultural or moral obligation that they feel the need to give to others. Some companies / organisations like to give back as it helps to build trust with their local communities, can help to reduce their tax bill and is a good opportunity for team building. Or perhaps you just get a sense of joy by helping others.

We often get more than we bargain for when we give. I’ve been volunteering as a leader with Girlguiding Sheffield for over 20 years now. In that time I’ve had the satisfaction of seeing girls grow and develop into confident young women, made life-long friendships, found a community and sense of belonging, learnt and developed many skills, had opportunities to travel the world and try new activities.

I’ve also been volunteering with HF Holidays as a Walks Leader for about 12 years. I started with the company so that I could gain more experience for my Mountain Leader award (which I subsequently got). I loved it and keep going back. I’ve developed my skills and confidence, met some wonderful people, explored beautiful areas of the UK and get to spend time away in lovely accommodation.

When considering volunteering find something you enjoy and think about what you would like from life then start giving. Just wait and see what you get in return. Regardless of whether you’ve got 10 minutes spare or 10 hours there is always something you can do to ‘give’.

What and how will you give in the next few weeks?