“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Similar to a good cause, a worthy cause is something that leaves you better than you were before. In fact, the term “worthy cause” has been defined as “a cause that merits attention, aid, or action due to an inherent goodness of values or intention”. Based on this definition a worthy cause is simply a synonym for a good cause. But I think there is more that distinguishes the two, making them not just a synonym but a term that complements or plays off of each other.
I believe that the biggest difference between a good cause and a worthy cause, is that while they both help others, one provides services and aid, whereas the other not only provides services and aids but teaches the recipient how to improve their life as well. Giving aid and resources to those in need is important, but for many people that is where the help stops; not many causes go the extra steps to teach recipients to pay it forward or how to improve their life moving forward. It is this distinction that I believe takes a good cause and moves it up to being a worthy cause.
I believe that a worthy cause is three-fold: giving and receiving, learning and teaching, and paying it forward. When all three components work together, both the benefactor and the giver of a worthy cause benefit, along with many others whom the benefactor will then go on to bless and help in the future. Creating a never-ending circle of giving, teaching and paying it forward.
Giving and Receiving
At the root of any cause is a need—financial assistance, volunteers, disaster relief, medical or school supplies, etc. In order for this need to be addressed and the help received, it requires the benefactor to overcome their fear of asking for help, and letting it be known that they need assistance. When someone is able to admit that they need help and can’t do everything on their own, shows great courage; shows that any help received will be going towards a good or worthy cause.
Asking for help from others is not a sign of weakness, it is actually the opposite, it is a sign of strength. Not only are you opening yourself up to generosity from others, but you are providing givers with an opportunity for those who are willing and able to donate to give of their time and talents to those who are less fortunate or in need.
A worthy cause is something that allows for both parties—givers and receivers to be blessed and benefit from the act. Those who donate money to a worthy cause, experience many benefits associated with their generous donation. A few proven benefits that come from donating to a worthy cause include:
· Experience More Pleasure and Joy
Studies have found that those who choose to donate money to a worthy or good cause, benefited from activated pleasure centers in the brain. Essentially, studies have found that when you donate money, you feel better, regardless of how much or how little you donate.
· Bring More Meaning into Your Life
Donating and helping a worthy cause that you believe in, provides you with the opportunity to meet and connect with others who also believe in the same causes that you do. In addition, to meeting others who you share a common interest with, donating can also establish a sense of meaning in your own life; especially if you find that you are stuck in a rut, donating can reignite the spark in your own life.
· Improve Personal Money Management
There are so many financial experts out there, all teaching individuals to set a budget and stick to it in order to get on top of their finances. Setting a set amount of money to donate to a worthy cause each month, can really help you to improve your personal finances as you are then committed to donating money to a charity or cause that you believe in every month. When you’ve decided to donate a set amount of money each month, people are generally more inclined to pay attention to their monthly bank statement, so they can stay current on their financial contributions.
· Get a Tax Deduction
When you make a financial donation to an IRS-approved charity, you are then able to write off your donations on your tax return. Keep in mind, certain restrictions do apply, check out the IRS website to learn more and see if a particular charity or cause that you are considering donating to has IRS approval.
All of these benefits bless the giver’s life, while the benefactor’s life is also blessed in the fact that their needs are met, they are able to pick up and rebuild their life, afford to pay for medical or funeral costs, or any other need that they might have. The beneficiary would not be able to do any of these things, if not for the generous donations of those from the givers.
Learning and Teaching
Now that we have learned a little bit about how the giver and receiver benefits from generous donations to worthy causes; it is time to take those lessons and teach them to others. It is easy to see the benefits for yourself when you are the one who is donating and benefiting directly, but what about your friends, family members or the benefactor? It is one thing to see others donate and bless others lives, or be the benefactors; it is entirely different when you learn and can experience those same benefits in your own life.
I believe that this is one of those instances, where the feeling is contagious. You feel good, therefore you want everyone you know to also experience the same feeling for themselves. The best way to do that is to teach them to donate and give to worthy causes. For those, who are just starting out donating and giving to worthy causes, might still be learning just how impactful giving can be, and how richly blessed their life can become. For others who have been giving and donating time, money and talents for a while may already be teaching and instilling these principles in others.
· Realize that Every Little Bit Helps
Arguably, one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn when considering donating or contributing to a worthy cause, is that any little bit helps. You don’t need to be a millionaire with large sums of money ear-marked for various charitable donations in order to make a difference in someone’s life. Even the smallest of donations can add up to making a difference, helping the benefactor to reach their goal. Even then, when you donate to charitable organizations that go to help underprivileged countries around the world, a few dollars can go a very long way in purchasing food, medical supplies, or educational material. When making a donation, don’t think of it from an economic standpoint, when the effect will have far-reaching effects that you will not even begin to comprehend.
· Motivate Friends and Family to Donate
You’ve probably heard it said before that “kindness is contagious”, the same goes for donating and giving to a worthy cause. When your friends and family see that you are donating, volunteering or giving to a worthy cause, they are more likely to do the same. To make a significant difference in the world, it is going to take a village, which is why motivating friends and family members to donate and give when and where they can, adds up to making substantial changes in people’s lives and the world.
· Promote Generosity in Your Children
Your children are watching you, whether you think they are or not. When they see you giving your time, money and talents to various charities and worthy causes, it instills in them the importance of donating and giving when they get older. Teach them at an early age the importance of giving, and how rewarding it can be to give to others who are less fortunate than they are. You’ll be surprised that by teaching them young, these are values that they will take with them as they get older and move into adulthood.
The more you learn about giving, donating and volunteering to help others, the more you’ll want to share the joy you have with others. Teaching by example is a powerful tool to motivate and inspire others around you to adopt the same behavior into their own life. Regardless of their age, you can teach by example those around you to be more generous and to donate to a worthy cause that you believe in to make a difference.
Paying It Forward
Another aspect of teaching is that those who are the beneficiary of generous donations and acts of service, then learn how to pay it forward and bless the lives of others. This is achieved through teaching them to be self-sufficient moving forward, teaching how to plant and garden and harvest food, how to make and sell items to make money, and most importantly how to pay it forward and give back to others in need.
Depending on the individual needs and situation, the way in which they are taught and learn how to pay it forward can and will be different; but teaching how to pay it forward is essential to keeping the circle of giving back going. The old saying of “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for life.”, embodies this philosophy of teaching others to be able to stand on their own, so that they are then able to give and bless others.
Other ways in which individuals can be taught the importance of paying it forward, include teaching them about the benefits that come from giving, the joy that comes from giving, and how even though they might feel as though they have a lot to give or offer; any offer, big or small helps.
In my experience, when someone is the recipient of service, donations or charitable acts, they then want to give back, as a way of expressing their gratitude for what they have been given. It’s amazing to see how someone who had the courage to ask for help, then freely and willingly gives help to others who are seeking help.
Any cause or belief that connects givers with receivers, can be deemed a good cause. But it is these causes that go beyond connecting them, to teaching and inspiring others, and encouraging others to pay it forward that it then becomes a worthy cause.
If you’d like to donate to a worthy cause, but aren’t sure where to find a worthy cause, check out agoodcause.com today! A Good Cause provides a safe environment for groups and individuals to ask for help from generous donors who are seeking to do good in their communities and the world. Together givers and receivers through A Good Cause are creating worthy causes that you can feel good about supporting. Once you find a cause that you believe in and want to support, you can be part of the movement of giving and receiving, learning and teaching and ultimately paying it forward.
I challenge you to find a good and worthy cause that you can get behind and support, and then do it! If you can’t find a worthy cause that you believe in and want to support, I challenge you to start one and start making a difference in your community and the world. When you give to others, and support a worthy cause, you will be amazed at how you are blessed by serving and giving to others and seeing the ripple effect that starts with you.
Author: Ashley Christensen