Let's make 2012 a Year of Giving

While giving is certainly more difficult than receiving, as a very result of it, its also far more satisfying. This has been proven by science that giving makes us happy.

Dhaval Udani
Published: 19, Jan 2012

Dhaval is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA) with a BE in Computer Science from VJTI, Mumbai. He has more than 10 years of experience spanning Information Technology, Management Consulting and Non-Profit Fundraising experience. Dhaval started his career in software development with Citicorp where he worked for 4 years. Post-MBA, Dhaval worked with management consulting firm, A.T. Kearney for 3.5 years. For 2.5 years during this period, he was volunteering with GiveIndia for about 15-20 hours every week. He joined GiveIndia about 3 years back leading its Internet Giving, Technology & Backoffice teams. Under him, Internet Giving grew nearly 4 times over a 3 year period. Since Jan 2011, Dhaval has taken over as the CEO of GiveIndia.

In this first post of mine, I would like to wish all readers of Forbes India, a very happy new year. I know I am somewhat late in my wishes but hey what the hell, there are yet 345 days to go in this year. A lot of time. A lot of time to make resolutions. And a lot of time to implement them :)

So for once I hope you have not made your resolution for the new year or have space for some more. A lot of us make resolutions to either become more disciplined (e.g. I will go to the gym, I will get up at 6am everyday, etc.) or grow professionally and personally (e.g. I will become manager this year, I will take 2 weeks of holiday this year, I will learn to play the guitar etc.) or try and leave some addiction (e.g. I will stop smoking, I will have only 2 cups of tea a day etc.). Do you see a certain trend in most of these resolutions? They are all about “I”. Does this ring true with your new year resolutions?

I propose that this year, you make a resolution not about “I” but about “them”. You make a resolution not for yourself but for others. I would like to propose that this year we all make a resolution to increase giving in 2012. If you have’nt started giving, you could resolve to give away 1% of your income this year towards charitable causes. If you already give 1% of your income, you could start giving 2% this year. And if you are already giving 2% of your income, you could resolve to convince a near and dear one who does not give to at least start giving away 1% of their income.

While many of you I am sure are excited by this, I am sure many are wondering “how will it help me”. In our religions, its often said that if you do good for others, good will also befall you. But apart from that let me tell you how it will help you. For those of you who are already giving, you have most certainly expressed a joy in giving. A joy of helping a person in need, a joy of seeing a smile on a child’s face who has gotten a chance to go to school, a joy of helping a women earn her livelihood. While giving is certainly more difficult than receiving, as a very result of it, its also far more satisfying. This has been proven by science that giving makes us happy. But don’t take my word for it. Ask your friends who give regularly how they felt, the first time they started giving?

Secondly, it will do wonders for your family as you decide with your family on how you want to give – to what causes, to what organization for what purpose. It will create a unique bond in your family – something in which you and your children are equal partners (strongly recommend reading a book about a family bonding over its giving in The Power of Half) Why do I say 1%, 2% and not something smaller? Because joy comes in giving away something substantial not in giving away some amount which is not meaningful for you. If you give away a small amount, you will not experience the joy of giving, you will feel as if you have avoided or got rid of a problem much like the happiness you experience while cleaning your home and getting rid of that old sofa or the old mattress. Thus its important to feel a sense of sacrifice in your giving if you truly want to experience a joy in it.

So Happy New Year everyone and lets make 2012 a Year of Giving.

  • Dhaval Udani

    I would say that we should all give because we want to. We should give because we believe that it is our duty to give. A lot of people make fun of principled, ethical and integrity led people but that does not prevent some people from following that path. At the end of the day always do something that will make you happy more than anything else.

    on Apr 28, 2012
  • NanC

    Appreciate your view. I happen to be one of the 'givers' amongst the ppl around me. But there seems to be a flip side to it..and that's when you notice that ppl only take advantage of you and simply 'need' you. It's pretty frustrating.

    on Jan 20, 2012
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