Doing good feels good
By Molly Severtson
It’s a fact: giving to a cause we care about makes us feel good! Many recent studies, including those conducted at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the National Institutes of Health, Emory University, and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, have said the same thing: there is such a thing as the “helper’s high!”
“A lot of times we think that happiness comes about because you get things for yourself,” said Richard Ryan, a psychologist at the University of Rochester. “But it turns out that in a paradoxical way, giving gets you more, and I think that’s an important message in a culture that’s pretty often getting messages to the opposite effect.”
Doing good feels good. That’s the good news. The bad news is that giving is down in the wake of the Great Recession and the memberships rolls of important nonprofit organizations – like MEIC – are shrinking. People are struggling. Members are aging. And yet the need to do all the good things nonprofits do – including protecting Montana’s natural environment – remains.
One might think that it would be hard to ask for financial support for a nonprofit in this economy. And of course, it isn’t always easy. When I tell people what I do for a living I often get these kinds of responses:
“I don’t know how you can do that job.”
“I could never be a fundraiser."
“How can you ask people for money all the time? I would hate that.”
I suppose if I were asking people for money for myself each day – so I could buy a new car or go on vacation – I might feel a little sheepish. I might not even like my job. But, I get to – that’s right, GET to! – ask people to help this great organization protect Montana’s natural environment. What better job could there be?
It’s also made easier by remembering the simple fact from above: doing good feels good. When I ask people to support MEIC I’m really giving them an opportunity to do something good for the state they love. I’m giving them the opportunity to help insure that there will be clean air, water, and land here in Montana for future generations.
So when it comes to making that phone call: “Hi Ms. Jones, I was wondering if I could chat with you about increasing your yearly giving to MEIC,” it’s these things that come to mind. It’s also the nearly 40-year history of MEIC, all the little steps and the big victories. It’s the people who work here and who have worked here in the past; their perseverance, their intelligence, their sincerity. All of these things make it easier to ask, “Would you be willing to support the great work that MEIC does?” And as it turns out – asking people to do good, feels good too.
Interested in feeling good today? Join MEIC!