The last in my three-part series exploring the engagement of women in your mission amplifies the role of happiness.

Dedicated to studying all of the factors that influence the charitable behaviors of women, Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute (IUWPI) conducts an annual study related to or intersecting with women in philanthropy called Women Give.

In Women Give 2017, researchers contemplated the connection between charitable giving and life satisfaction.  Does giving make people happier?  What I learned:

  • When women drive charitable decisions, more giving by the family or couple means greater life satisfaction or happiness
  • The more a household gives, as a percent of income, the higher the household’s overall happiness
  • For single and married women, happiness increases the most when they increase their giving; for men, life satisfaction increases when they become a donor
  • Donors are happier than non-donors

The Non-Profit Leader’s Call to Action:

  1. Focus on the joy that giving generates for the giver. Turn your attention purposely to the giver, not the recipient.
  2. Use marketing materials, events, stories, online advertising and engagement to highlight the life changing impact that philanthropy has on the donor.
  3. Ask your contributors to be your messengers across all of your channels. Invite them to shine the spotlight on themselves and to wear their halo proudly.

In two decades of non-profit leadership and board service, the biggest barrier I have encountered is the fear of asking for money. No matter how amazing a cause or how inspiring a community impact may be, the majority of people have a hard time asking others for support. The opportunity we have to overcome this barrier is to remember that in asking a potential donor for their support, we are offering them a chance to experience great joy.  We are presenting them a path to change their community and to change their sense of self.  We are in the enviable position of providing them a way to improve their life satisfaction.