Please see below selected recent generosity-related change.
- “Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you,” Annie Dillard wrote in her essay on generosity. Maria Popova complements this with John Steinbeck on the equally important art of receiving and Seneca on what it really means to be a generous human being,
- Research revealed that volunteering had fallen to a historic low in England post-pandemic. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) surveyed 7,000 adults for its Time Well Spent report and found that those raising money or taking part in sponsored events was down from 11% to 6% since 2018. Meanwhile, the Charities Aid Foundation's UK Giving report found there were 1.6 million fewer people volunteering compared with five years previously. Sarah Vibert, NCVO's chief executive, said: "Given how important volunteering is to our social fabric, we need an urgent focus on helping people find opportunities that suit them."
- Global benevolence climbed 25% compared to before the pandemic, according to a UN report on world happiness. The report, which measured happiness across 150 countries, found that feelings of positive social support were trending stronger worldwide.
- While New Year's resolutions are generally about improving ourselves, kindness to others can be equally rewarding, especially as research has established a link between generosity and happiness. The Guardian listed acts of kindness for each week of the new year that are relatively easy to implement, such as giving blood, walking a dog or volunteering in a shelter. Whether helping with reading in schools or chat to an older person, there are lots of opportunities to make life a little better for someone else - and in return, for oneself.
- In recent decades, a growing body of research has revealed that giving to others produces numerous psychological and physiological benefits. The exact neural mechanisms underlying this remain unclear, but it seems that the process involves mammalian systems related to reward, social attachment, and aversion.
- The act of giving is rarely ever purely altruistic, and is instead motivated by a range of factors: feeling good about yourself, for example, or having a building named after you. Understanding the causes and effects of generosity can make us better and more thoughtful charitable actors.
- Feeling like the world is becoming less friendly? Social theorist Jonathan Zittrain begs to differ, seeing a web of random acts of kindness,
- Meanwhile, initiatives like Global Giving also tell a more positive story.