Serving Others Leads to Happiness

Serving Others Leads to Happiness

By Jon Campbell, head of Government and Community Relations, Wells Fargo
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.@WellsFargo head of #CSR shares “4 P’s” on choosing where to #volunteer. @UnitedWay.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Wells Fargo Social Impact and Sustainability

CONTENT: Article

Helping others and giving back has always made me happy.

If you’re like me, you recall vividly the positive feeling that comes with volunteering and the thought that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life — if even for just a few hours.

I experienced this feeling tenfold when I visited a school in Hyderbad, India, with Jimmie Paschall, Wells Fargo's head of Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion, and Jamie Moldafsky, chief marketing officer. Team members from Wells Fargo India Solutions have adopted four local schools, and volunteers regularly provide nutrition programs and vision screenings as well as help build new bathrooms and classrooms. 

Since Wells Fargo adopted these schools five years ago, attendance has improved 25 percent, and now 2,000 children are able to start their day like many of us do, with a nice breakfast.

When we arrived at the school with the team members who were volunteering that day, the children saw our Wells Fargo Volunteers T-shirts and came running down the street to meet us. Many of them saluted, shook our hands, and said “Good morning” and “Thank you.” I realized that our team members are improving lives all over the world.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when I read “Generosity may be a ‘magic pill’ for happiness and longevity,” in the Seattle Times. The newspaper’s review of studies showed that volunteering can create positive mental and physical well-being and can lead to benefits like lower blood sugar, less anxiety, reduced cardiovascular risk, and overall greater happiness.

Even more encouraging: One survey found that just thinking about helping others releases “happiness chemicals” in our brains.

The bottom line: Serving others leads to happiness.

This month, thousands of Wells Fargo team members will release these happy endorphins by contributing to nonprofits across the U.S. during our 2015 Community Support Campaign with United Way Worldwide. It’s a month-long celebration of volunteer work and donations made to causes that are most important to them.

We celebrate the generosity of our team members by matching each monetary donation to schools and educational associations. (And by the way, we’ve been named United Way’s No. 1 Corporate Campaign for the past six years.)

There are many nonprofits in need of volunteers. Choosing just one can be daunting! So here are my “4 P’s” on how to choose a nonprofit that fits you well:

  1. Passion. Identify a cause or nonprofit that you care about. Whether it’s educating children or feeding the homeless, that personal connection is key.
  2. Purpose. Looks for a clear match between what you care about and what the organization’s mission is. What are its goals, initiatives, and successes? Is it something that you fully support? Does it align with your personal values?
  3. Presence. Find a nonprofit where your individual contribution makes a difference. Whether it’s giving your professional talents or doing manual labor, make sure your volunteer expectations match the volunteer duties.
  4. Place. Determine whether you can visit in person or participate virtually. With today’s online capabilities, the opportunity to volunteer is easier than ever. 

People who volunteer regularly know that it’s a great way to make a difference. Small acts by many quickly add up to make a huge difference. Jump in and make your own difference!