What is the purpose of giving?
If I were to answer that question by analyzing the appeals for charitable gifts from a variety of nonprofits, I’d come up with a clear answer:
The purpose of giving is to meet the important and various needs of others.
Students need a robust education. Communities need the best healthcare. Families need empathetic social services. Pets need loving families. We all need a healthy planet. And on and on.
Through giving, donors are the partners and heroes who help meet all these needs.
But what if this message doesn’t reflect at all the most fundamental purpose of giving?
What if, instead, the true and monumental purpose of giving is to increase the giver’s sense of gratitude.
To encourage more humility. To expand empathy. To acknowledge and appreciate excess. To value the vast goodness in life. To create more deep connection among humans and our commonalities.
‘Gratia‘ is the Latin word from which ‘gratitude’ emerges. Gratia means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. We know from research that when we practice gratia, a whole host of positive benefits emerge: greater happiness, living longer, improved health, more resilient relationships, less mental health issues. The list of significant positive benefits is unbelievably long.
Think about the current state of our world, our communities, our families, our friends. . . even, ourselves.
Maybe giving isn’t important because everyone else needs help.
Maybe giving matters because we all do.