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Giving @F-L-O-W

"Donors end up with more income after making their


In 2003, while working on a book about charitable
giving, I stumbled across a strange pattern in my data.
Paradoxically, I was finding that donors ended up with more
income after making their gifts. This was more than
correlation; I found solid evidence that giving stimulated
prosperity. I viewed my results as implausible, though, and
filed them away. After all, data patterns never “prove”
anything, they simply provide evidence for or against a

But when I mentioned my weird findings to a
colleague, he told me that they were fairly unsurprising.
Psychologists, I learned, have long found that donating and
volunteering bring a host of benefits to those who give. In
one typical study, researchers from Harvard and the University
of British Columbia confirmed that, in terms of quantifying
“happiness,” spending money on oneself barely moves the
needle, but spending on others causes a significant increase.

Why? Charitable giving improves what psychologists call
“self-efficacy,” one’s belief that one is capable of handling
a situation and bringing about a desired outcome. When people
give their time or money to a cause they believe in, they
become problem solvers. Problem solvers are happier than
bystanders and victims of circumstance.

If charity
raises well-being, there is no obvious reason it would not
also indirectly stimulate material prosperity as people
improve their lives. By the time I published my results in an
academic journal and book about philanthropy, the only real
question was why I hadn’t intuitively understood this all

But studying the link between service to others
and happiness changed more than just my research; the evidence
led me and my wife to reconsider our personal behavior. We
raised our financial support for the causes we cared about,
increased our volunteering, and — proving that the path to the
human heart can run through 100 megabytes of social science
data — adopted our youngest child. These things have enriched
our family beyond imagination, just as the research promised.


As we move into the Easter Holiday Rice
Drive, we have cooked up a program that will help us move into
postmodern business models, I THINK.  Please help us explore
this process as it is fully scaffolded in that it has all the
elements to relieve poverty (for a few); just add a poor

THIS NEXT PHASE will allow us to study how to
scaffold individuals who are poor, and even though I will
start out with those who have been vetted, I believe the
things we will learn about this process will help us rewrite
poverty policies and help us understand the full gamut of what
must be done to scaffold poverty… we’ll see.


PS: Read the New York Times article

about having more fun donating and increasing your
income in the process of giving.

We had 3 calls recently where Mike shared his
concept of eliminating poverty and when you complete the form
below you will gain access to the recording.



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