A generous friend of mine paid a $40 bill for a stranger once, and returning soon afterward to his locked car, found that exact amount just sitting there on his seat. Neat, huh? This is perhaps no coincidence, according to an article in Entrepreneur about The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (2000), the standard for civic participation in the United States.
According to the article, the Survey's data (stripped of income as a variable so the results wouldn’t simply demonstrate that those with more money give more - which is true) - showed that people actually grow wealthier when they give, or said another way, giving causes higher income. So a $50 donation would eventually reap the giver about $187.50. That's a Karmic ROI of 375%. The New Agers, the Law of Attraction folks, and that movie The Secret, were apparently right on the money; what you put out there comes back to you in literal droves. And maybe it does.
But generosity has other benefits, too.
> Get Legally High According to Paul Zak, the director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, giving is directly correlated with the release of oxytocin, a hormone produced during sex that induces euphoria. (oh, yes!)
> Trendset The National Academy of Science has shown that when one person behaves generously, it inspires others to do the same. In fact, this research found that altruism can spread by three degrees… like a beneficial virus.
> Live Longer Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University, reports that elderly folks who give of their money or time outlive their stingy counterparts by as much as five years. He also found that giving increases health benefits in people with even chronic illnesses, like HIV and MS.
What will you do with this information? I think we should all take it for a test drive and see what happens. We may not see an ROI as fast as my friend did, but while we’re waiting to reap the possible financial rewards, we’ll apparently feel really, really good. And how good is that? Very.