We all know that helping other people and causes is a ‘good thing to do’. But did you know that helping a charity or non-profit is really good for you too?
In fact, the list of benefits is wide-ranging and pretty impressive. So whether you’ve been thinking about getting involved with a charity for a while, or this is the first time you’ve thought of it, this post might be the nudge you need to get out there and make a difference to both your’s and others’ lives!
It’s no surprise that giving either your time or your money has a huge impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing. And there’s plenty of science to back it up.
Even the relatively simple act of giving money to a good cause can give you the same pleasure as eating chocolate or having sex . And giving money to other people instead of spending it on yourself can actually make you happier .
Volunteering your time seems to give even more emotional benefits than donating money. A study of nearly 3,400 volunteers found that 94% improved their mood and 78% had lower stress levels. Almost all of the volunteers (96%) said they felt their life had more purpose since volunteering. 
There are also huge social benefits to volunteering. Volunteers feel more socially connected, less lonely , and better connected to the communities they’re helping .
The surprising physical benefits
Not only do people who volunteer feel better emotionally, they’re also physically healthier. Benefits include lower blood pressure , generally feeling healthier  and even a 20% lower risk of death .
What’s more, a quarter of volunteers in one study reported that volunteering helped them manage a chronic illness by giving them something else to focus on .
And let’s not forget that helping a charity means you get to see and experience some pretty awesome things. You could be taking part in the challenge of a lifetime (think climbing Kilimanjaro or cycling from Paris to London). You could be a listening ear that helps someone feel a little less lonely. Or you could get to see the priceless expressions of pure joy and gratitude at helping someone do something they wouldn’t have been able to do alone. Volunteering provides so many rewards – it’s a feeling that’s hard to beat!
Despite all these cool ‘side-effects’, your primary motivation for helping is really important. Neuroscientist, Alex Korb, found that if you go into it deliberately looking to get something out for yourself, or so you can show off to your mates, you’re much less likely to experience the same benefits .
How can you help a charity?
So you’re ready to dive in and start making a difference. Of course, here at go-do.it we’ve got plenty of inspiration to get you started…
Give your time
Volunteering your time is a great way to help without spending money. You could help out on a regular basis or volunteer as part of an overseas expedition. You could also campaign for a cause close to your heart or help organise a fundraising event .
You might choose to give money regularly or as a one off. If you want to make sure your money goes somewhere specific, you could also sponsor a child or fund a microloan for an aspiring entrepreneur.
Achieve a goal
And finally, is there something out of the ordinary or extremely challenging you’ve always wanted to do? Getting sponsored is a great way to add another layer of motivation and help out a good cause at the same time.
Take the first step today
Already one of our intrepid doers? Add your charity goals to your list now!
And if you’re yet to join go-do.it, why not sign up today, create your first list and include your charity goals. We’ve got inspiration and motivation galore, plus we’ll help you stay accountable so you actually achieve all the things you want to!
Do you already volunteer or work with a charity? Then we need you!
We want to help charities connect with potential volunteers, so we’re offering our pro provider accounts to charities for free. We’d love to have as many charities as possible on here so that it’s easy for more awesome people like you to find volunteering opportunities and really make a difference! Tell your charity how they can get a free account on go-do.it.
Also published on Medium.