We probably don’t talk about this enough. Benchmark Referral is based on the philosophy that Givers Gain. That we are here to give each other support, ideas, encouragement as well as referrals that can build our business.  ‘Givers Gain’ is based on the law of reciprocity, the law of giving and receiving. I found this information and thought it was interesting. Here are seven reasons why ‘Givers Gain’:

#1 Giving makes you happy
A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves [despite participants’ prediction that spending on themselves would make them happier]. When people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a ‘warm glow’-effect. Altruistic behavior also releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the ‘helper’s high’. And like other highs, this one is addictive, too.

#2 Giving keeps you healthy
Giving helps others, but studies show that giving is also good for the giver. Giving boosts physical and mental health. It lowers blood pressure, you experience an increased self-esteem, less depression and lower stress levels. It seems that, contrary to popular belief, we don’t feel good by what we get, we feel good because of what we give. In the end givers live a longer life!

#3 Giving promotes social connection
When you give, you’re more likely to get back. When you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line. Sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else. It’s all about karma-points! When we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them. Giving promotes a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others.

#4 Giving enhances life’s satisfaction
People who give to others are generally more satisfied with their own situation and life than those who don’t. Givers seem better able to cope with problems and difficulties in their own lives, maybe because they have a good understanding of how many people are worse off than they are. Helping others gives meaning to your life and helps to make life worthwhile. While you are thinking about another person, you aren’t dwelling on your own problems.

#5 Giving spreads joy
When you give, you will spread joy to others in ways you may not even realize. And by giving joy to others, it’s hard not to experience some joy yourself. You create a connection that you may not have had otherwise. You make the world a happier place, one act of kindness and generosity at a time.

#6 Giving alleviates chronic pain
Physical giving, as in volunteering may help you feel better physically. You are getting out, moving around more than you normally might and spending time with others. If you feel like other people are counting on you, you may be more likely to keep moving even when you are experiencing pain. And helping others may take your mind off of your pain.

#7 Giving is contagious
When we give, we don’t only help the immediate recipient of our gift. We also spur a ripple effect of generosity. When someone behaves generously, it inspires observers to behave generously later, toward different people. In fact, researchers found that altruism spreads by three degrees. From person to person to person to person. ‘As a result’, they write, ‘each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not met.’

And the beauty of all this: giving doesn’t have to be difficult. Take your pick!
• Give money: many worthwhile causes need constant injections of cash.
   Thank you BNI Grand Cru and its visitors this morning for giving so generously to ‘Een Toetje Voor Thomas’!
• Give goods and services: give new and secondhand goods or use your skills to help others.
• Give time: volunteering your time is a great way of giving to others. You are giving of yourself.
• Give expertise: teach others what you know.
• Give random Acts of Kindness: little things that you do for people in your life or total strangers, often without
   their knowledge, that will brighten their day.
• Give your smile: the cheapest and simplest gift you can give is your smile.
   It shows that other person that you acknowledge them and brightens the day of both the giver and receiver.

Mirjam Stoffels