One of the challenges the local non-profit faces is getting support at the individual level. There are multiple reasons for this, such as a general tendency to look to others to determine if to take action. Simply put, the majority of a crowd may secretly want to help or participate in an activity, but individuals in that same crowd might assume the opposite of each other. So even if the majority is inclined to help, the individual’s assumptions would stop her/him from doing so. This phenomenon is referred to as pluralistic ignorance and is generally associated with the bystander effect.  It can explain why some persons feel pressured when the spotlight is on them. It also helps to understand why popular people on social media gain more traction than others when they launch calls for action.

Yet, there is a multitude of benefits you can get from participating in human rights and charitable activities, especially at the community level. Here’s a list of six benefits we’ve compiled for you:

1. Understanding the issues affecting your community’s development

Engaging in charity and non-profit work helps you to become more aware and informed about issues of social importance impeding your community’s development. If you are particularly concerned about social injustices, supporting non-profit work is also an excellent way to take action. This also provides you with the opportunity to actively participate in finding sustainable solutions to overcome these issues, and can even propel you to leadership roles in your community. Whether it’s tackling homelessness, monitoring or reporting animal abuse or fighting pollution, there are many causes to choose from which could enhance the quality of your daily life. All it requires is some of your time, effort or goodwill.

2. Stress relief and improved mental health

Some people enjoy the benefits of stress relief and enhanced mental health by participating in activities that teach them new things, help them develop new skills, weave new friendships or simply bring them joy. This can be particularly true for people who are retired or with extra time on their hands and looking to lead purposeful lives.

3. It teaches children responsibility and respect

Raising responsible adults involves teaching children to respect others, the environment they live in, and life in general. Supporting charitable and non-profit activities is an optimal way of transmitting these values to your children. By involving them directly, you’re not only leading by example, but you’re also helping them to develop social skills and their sense of awareness for the environment they will grow up in. Equally important is how you help them to hone their emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion. (Here’s an interesting article on how to teach children about charity).

4. Building your network by engaging non-profit actors

If you’re looking to expand your personal or professional network in a particular field, getting involved in charitable and non-profit work is a good idea. Supporting a cause (or multiple causes) means that you get to become part of a community of people working towards the same common objective. Another exciting advantage of building connections with people is that you can learn from their experiences and mistakes. This in turn helps you improve your personal or professional development.

5. Helping your communities achieve the SDG 2030 Agenda

Despite the many problems affecting human development globally, there is hope that the world can become a significantly enhanced place by 2030 if we all work collectively to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Though some goals are more challenging to accomplish than others, a bottom-up approach starting at the community level can result in significant transformational change for a country. Cooperation among non-profit organisations, private and public stakeholders is key to achieve this. Engaging actively in trying to solve human development problems in your community, region or country, therefore, means that you become part of a global movement for change.

6. Improving corporate social responsibility

If you’re a business looking to enhance your presence in your community, region or country, then contributing to social development is the way to go. This helps to improve the quality of your corporate social responsibility and can even yield tax benefits and marketing opportunities while enhancing your business image, communication and visibility.  More importantly, it reminds your clients and customers that your business is solely a cold profit-making venture, but is also concerned about their social well-being.

We hope that these six benefits would be the little extra boost you needed to connect with your inner charitable self. Here at GEPAN, we always say that the smallest act of kindness can have the greatest impact on a person’s life!


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