Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you could probably make a difference, but you’re not so sure and you kept putting it off?

Some say “when you give you get,” but that should never be your sole motivation. Give because you are blessed. Give because you have abundance (time, money, resources, health). Give because you can. Give because you care. Give because you see a need. Give because you’re a good person.

Many of us don’t ask for what we want in life, and maybe we should. Most importantly though, is that I think we need to slow down on drawing conclusions about what people want or need and rather listen when they ask for something specific. Obviously, you would not give something inappropriate – you have to gauge the safety of the person and their surroundings. But if someone who has lost everything asks for money, don’t give them food without first asking if it would help. Perhaps many people have given them food, but they need money for medicine, toiletries, or something they’d rather not ask for directly.

An organization appealing for volunteers wants your time, not your money. Sure, with money they can hire someone, but that will cost more and have fewer emotional spin-offs than having someone volunteer their time.

Here are some good reasons why you should give:

1. Giving could make you live longer. The University of Exeter found that people who volunteered lived 20% longer.

2. You will make other people (or animals) happy when you give your time, and as a reward, you will experience an increase in self-worth and life satisfaction.

3. You may develop new skills to add to your resume, and that may land you a job you have been dreaming of in the future.

4. You may enhance your community if you do something for the area in which you live. We all draw from the community, so it is a good idea to give back.

5. You will make social connections with like-minded people. Volunteering is a good way of making connections when you have just experienced a major life-change, such as becoming retired, moving to a new city, or changing jobs.

6. You will see things in a different light. Sometimes, the courage of those who seem to have no reason to get out of bed in the morning can be a major eye-opener that might spark your own gratitude.

There’s something about giving what is needed at the right time, that is so powerful. Seeing the joy on the faces of those you help, is simply inexplicable.