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People who give to charity, glow with happiness for 24 days

10 Oct 2014

Infographic: The more you give, the more you glowGiving to a good cause really does make you glow, according to new research.

A study from Guide Dogs revealed that giving time or money will make you ‘glow’ with happiness after doing your good deed. People who donate money feel positive for an average of one week, but people who donate their time to charity glow for an average of 24 days.

The research is released as Guide Dogs calls for people to get glowing during Guide Dogs Week. The charity wants people all over the UK to join in Let’s Glow Dress-in-Neon Day on Friday 10 October or donate an hour of their time during the week (4-12 October).

The analysis, commissioned by Guide Dogs, involved a psychological test to rate people’s general happiness among those that do and do not give to charity. The results revealed that people who donated to charity in the last 12 months were 12% happier with their lives and were more likely to report having a sense of inner calm compared with those who had not donated.

More than 2,000 people were involved in the research, with close to eight in ten (77%) of adults questioned saying they had supported a charity in some way during the past 12 months. Of these, the majority (95%) felt they were left with feelings of positivity after donating their time to a good cause.

Dr Glenn Wilson, the consultant psychologist who devised the happiness testing, says: “Money offers no guarantee of increasing happiness but giving it away certainly does. This research confirms that an even better route to happiness is giving one's time to a charitable cause. This provides an improved sense of purpose and self-worth that has been described as a warm glow."

The effect of giving time is most felt among women with the emotional impact lasting an average of 20 days longer than men.

Younger people aged between 18 and 24 years old also claimed to glow the longest out of all the age groups questions, feeling happy for 34 days after donating their time. Dr Wilson goes on to explain: “Young people may be particularly placed to benefit from the warm glow provided by helping their community or fundraising because the modern world promotes immediate, superficial pleasure at the expense of deeper altruistic values."

Guide Dogs’ chief executive, Richard Leaman, says: “Every hour of every day someone in the UK loses their sight. We know that by donating just an hour to Guide Dogs, our volunteer fundraisers make a real difference to the lives of people with sight loss. It’s no wonder they feel happy, knowing that they’ve made such as positive impact, whether it’s by holding a Let’s Glow bake sale, helping to collect donations or simply wearing neon for the day.”

For people who are interested in experiencing the ‘giving glow’, Guide Dogs has a list of Let’s Glow activities, including Dress-in-Neon Day and Donate An Hour, on its website so fundraisers and time-givers can stand out for blind and partially sighted people across the UK.


Guide Dogs Week 2014 logo

Children of Ronald Ross Primary School taking part in a Let's Glow event