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5 Reasons Donating Is The Best Holiday Gift This Year
The holiday season is here, and with the holiday season comes a number of yearly traditions: Mariah Carey, festive sweaters and thoughtful gifts.
However, as we approach the two-year mark of a global pandemic, maybe it's time to embrace a new holiday tradition: donations.
Here's five reasons why you should welcome this new tradition.
As many put together wish lists, what's often forgotten is that there are people who don’t have food on the table and or the ability to handle basic medical needs. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on music professionals everywhere, MusiCares brings back its Help for the Holidays program for a second year.
The program provides music professionals with financial aid to cover essential items like food, gas and prescriptions during the holiday season. In 2020, MusiCares administered 4,000 e-gift cards to those in need. Knowing you can help others with basic needs is a gift in itself.
Good For You and Others
Giving is scientifically proven to be good for you. In 2008, Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that despite participants predicting they’d be happier spending money on themselves, their happiness actually scored higher after giving to others.
According to UC Berkeley, a 2006 study by the National Institute of Health found that when people donate to charities, the areas of their brains associated with pleasure, social connection and trust create a "warm glow" effect. Along with inner feelings of warmth, researchers at John Hopkins University found that giving improves physical health and longevity in givers by helping decrease stress.
From colorful lights to matching pajamas, there's plenty of joy that comes with the holiday season. But there's another element that's just as common, yet rarely mentioned: the anxiety that comes along with giving gifts. Bankrate’s 2018 Holiday Gifting Survey found that nearly half of all Americans felt pressured to overspend on holiday gifts.
Dr. Suzanne Degges-White of Northern Illinois University said, "If you let yourself forget that Hallmark had it right when their tagline became, 'It's the thought that counts,' you can be swindled into spending a lot more than you can afford in your efforts to prove your affection and devotion."
Donating allows you to discreetly stay within your means while still showing how much you care.
Expand Your Reach
Giving a traditional gift is a simple A-to-B transaction. Donating expands that A-to-B exchange from two people to potentially hundreds, if not thousands or millions. For example, hosting a fundraiser through MusiCares' Help for the Holidays program allows the organization to help as many music professionals as possible, while also influencing others to kickstart their own fundraisers within the program.
Several studies show that public donations go well past a person's initial giving, as there's a direct correlation between one person giving and their peers following in their charitable footsteps. Author Simon Sinek explains the process best, simply writing, "Don't give to get. Give to inspire others to give."
Most people view gifts and donations as one in the same. While the definitions of the two may be nearly identical, one form of giving has a much larger financial impact over the other.
According to Pocket Sense, when a person gives money to a qualified 170(c) nonprofit organization, such as a charity or church, they can deduct their contribution amount from their taxable income for the year. As long as the donor has proof of their charitable contribution, they can deduct up to 50 percent of their annual income all while helping to fund a good cause.
If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, click here. If you wish to support MusiCares' efforts to aid music professionals in need this holiday season, read more below.