Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Giving Matters Part 3

I hope you love this series like I do. It really gives me hope. I would like to thank Arthur Brooks for his insight. Here's part 3. Enjoy.

Linda Garner

Leaders Give

A study from the University of Kent in southern England was dedicated to figuring out how people perceive givers. Researchers conducted an experiment called a “cooperation game” in which a group of people were given a small amount of money and asked to contribute to a common fund. Next, the researchers doubled the common fund and passed it out equally among the participants. In this game, the best thing for everybody to do is to put in all of their money and have it doubled. But if you’re crafty, rather than cooperate you’ll be tempted to hold back all your money when everybody else puts in theirs. That means that you get your own money and a chunk of everybody else’s. And as the experiment showed, there is always a proportion of people who opt to do so.

But then the researchers conducted a second phase of the experiment in which the participants had to break up into teams and elect leaders. They found that 82 percent of the leaders who were elected were the biggest givers from the first phase.

The study concludes that when people see strangers giving charitably, they recognize a leadership quality in those strangers. If people witness you as a giver, they will see a leader. Servant leadership is a secret to success, whether you’re looking for success or not. When people see you giving and cooperating and serving others, they will see in you a leader, or a future leader, and they cannot help but help you.
Many other studies show that givers have better health, that givers are better citizens—it goes on and on. The bottom line is this: Givers are healthier, happier, and richer in this country—and probably around the world. Giving creates stronger communities and a more prosperous nation.

The question for me now is this: Who gives the most? And who’s getting this wonderful benefit for themselves and their communities?

The number one characteristic of those who give in this country is that they practice a faith. Of people who attend worship services every week, 91 percent give to charity each year. Of people who don’t attend every week, 66 percent give. This translates into millions of people who are healthier, happier, and more prosperous than their neighbors, and it charts back to their religious experiences.
What do the data tell me as a Christian man? They tell me that people who take their faith seriously are the beneficiaries of giving because we tend to give a lot. We’ve been taught to do what is right, and we are reaping the reward.

Give the Gift of Giving
How can we reinterpret the scriptures about charitable giving? How can we take it to the next level?

Consider Mosiah 4:21:
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

The traditional interpretation of this passage, which is similar to passages in any sacred text, is basically this: “Give more to other people. You have so much; give more.” Take it to the next level. You have been given the gift of giving. Help others by giving them the gift of giving.

How are you going to help somebody to give more today? There are a lot of ways to do it. Let me tell you how you’ve done it for me.

Oh, I hate to keep you in suspense, but tomorrow is Carolyn's turn, so come back next Tuesday for the conclusion of Why Giving Matters by Arthur C. Brooks. I hope you feel different after reading it. I know I do.

Linda Garner

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