Giving Tuesday is a time to think of others. But as Patricia Snell Herzog writes at the New York Times, it's also a time to think of yourself. Research shows "giving money away also brings joy to the giver," writes Herzog, an associate professor of philanthropic studies at Indiana University, who hopes to encourage more individuals and families to get involved, as do companies like Facebook: Newsweek reports the social network will match up to $7 million in eligible donations made on its website Tuesday, with the total adding to the $1 billion raised since Giving Tuesday was established in 2012. But Herzog notes many Americans are missing out. Indeed, "in a typical year 45% of Americans give not even a single dollar, and 75% spend no time volunteering."
People are more willing to give when family, friends, and religious affiliations request donations or donate themselves. Those who don't will often cite a lack of funds, or say they're too busy to volunteer. But "there is no magical time in life when one suddenly becomes prepared to give, by having more money left to spend or more time on one's hands," Herzog writes. Rather, "there are constraints on time and money at every stage in life." But if "we can motivate ourselves to give throughout our lives, in whatever ways one can," we can "contribute to the public good" while creating "that giving-supportive context for others"—and benefit ourselves. After all, "givers are happier and healthier and have a greater sense of purpose in life," Herzog writes. "There is something in it for everyone." Read her full piece here. (Read more Giving Tuesday stories.)