The gift of giving – how charity can boost your wellbeing 

Giving time and money to charity is not only good for the community, it may be good for you too! Discover the benefits giving can have on your wellbeing.

More than a third of Australians (6.1 million people) do voluntary work. From working with community and welfare programs, to local sporting groups, to helping the next generation by supporting youth-based activities, it seems that Australians readily donate their time. 

Australians are also extremely generous with their financial donations, offering a total of almost $7 billion to charities every year.  

Sadly, many Australians are still very much in need of that extra helping hand. The latest research by The Salvation Army has revealed that nearly half a million Australian children under 10 will receive no Christmas presents this year.

By offering your time and donations, not only are you helping others, you could also be helping yourself as well. Here are five examples of how helping others can help you too:

volunteer taking selfie with older woman

1. A sense of wellbeing

Volunteering Australia found 95 per cent of their survey respondents associated volunteering with feelings of wellbeing and said that it makes people happier. They also reported a difference in their happiness and mood after just a few hours of volunteering work. 

2. Life satisfaction

According to the most recent ABS review of volunteering, 82 per cent of people who volunteered said that overall they were satisfied (or mostly satisfied) with life, compared to 75 per cent of non-volunteers.

3. Greater levels of trust

The review also found that 62 per cent of people who volunteer believed that most people can be trusted, compared to 49 per cent of non-volunteers.

4. New friends

Volunteering can help you create connections, find a new purpose and help give you a reason to feel energised and purposeful. 

beyondblue’s policy, research and evaluation leader, Dr Stephen Carbone, says volunteering is a great way to build social connections. 

“Two of the key components of maintaining positive mental health outcomes come directly from the network around us, such as friends and family, and the way we feel about our place in society overall. Volunteering takes you outside of yourself and your life and gives you the opportunity to connect with new people for a common good in society,” says Dr Carbone. 

5. A longer life

“There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to volunteering as a source of higher levels of satisfaction, lower susceptibility to the isolation often associated with mental health issues, and perhaps even living longer,” says Dr Carbone. 

Want to volunteer?

Australia has some great volunteering organisations and websites where you can find volunteering opportunities in your local area. They include: 

Want to donate?

Bupa supports the work of The Salvation Army, which expects to help 70,000 families across Australia in the six weeks before Christmas and in the critical month afterwards. You can donate online to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, or call 13 72 58 (13 SALVOS).
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