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By Vincent R. Birardi, CFP®, AIF®, Wealth Advisor as featured in Kiplinger 

Giving to others – whether it’s our time, our financial resources or both – can confer a multitude of benefits.

Each passing holiday season reminds us of the opportunity to give to others in need, but the truth is, we can deploy our time and money throughout the year and still reap the benefits of donating and volunteering. While this time of the year can propel an initial interest in charity, hopefully, the benefits you see in your heart and pocketbook encourage you to find ways to give back year-round.

Aside from feeling fulfilled by helping others and a sense of belonging shared with those you connect with through your giving efforts, there are also significant financial benefits to be had. You have various options in how you approach charity, whether you volunteer your time or donate cash or other assets to your favorite nonprofits, and any approach you take will have an impact.

Personal Growth, Connection and Contentment

First, let’s start with your emotional well-being. If you have been charitable in some form, you’ll likely recognize the truth in this: Giving back actually does help us feel better about ourselves as confirmed by multiple studies. One such study, conducted by professors at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the University of California, Riverside, revealed that those who gave to others tended to score much higher on feelings of joy and contentment than individuals who did not give to others.

Another study, led by psychologists from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, showed that we feel good about ourselves for an extended period after we’ve given to others.

When it comes to volunteering your time, one powerful benefit comes from the sheer activity of networking — meeting new people — possibly in your current career role and/or industry. Whether done online or in person, creating new career connections while simultaneously helping others can be a real win-win. If you so choose, you can also talk about your volunteering activities with colleagues and clients or include your passion for giving back in your company’s marketing materials, such as in your corporate bio.

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