Charity more gratuitous when doled out via friends

Washington, August 21: People are much happier when they make a donation to someone they know or in a way that builds social connection, according to a study.

Lara Aknin of Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and Harvard Business School, Massachusetts, USA, examined when the emotional benefits of giving to charity become manifest.

The authors carried out 3 studies of charitable donations, or more precisely pro-social spending, and found that spending money on others or giving money to charity leads to the greatest happiness boost when giving fosters social connection.

The overarching conclusion is that donors feel happiest if they give to a charity via a friend, relative or social connection rather than simply making an anonymous donation to a worthy cause.

The team concluded that while additional factors other than social connection likely influence the happiness gained from pro-social spending and that their findings suggest that putting the social in pro-social is one way to transform good deeds into good feelings.

The research is set to be published in the International Journal of Happiness and Development. (ANI)