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Just a few years ago, scientists discovered the neural links in human brains that generate more happiness in people who choose to be generous.¹ It seems that we are wired as humans to help each other. The tricky thing is that, as individuals, we may want to help when we see people suffering from complicated problems, but often don’t know the best way to do it. One of the key benefits of donating to nonprofits is that they give us a chance to assist in doing important work to lift, cure, and comfort those who need our help by funding the efforts and expertise of those who are in a position to know what to do. Nonprofit organizations provide vital services, expertise, and research that can help more people than we could on our own. So, if you’re wondering why you should donate to nonprofit organizations, magnifying the impact of your generosity is just one of many reasons.

Charity vs. Non-Profits

Many people don’t realize there is a difference between charities and non-profit organizations, lumping them all into the same basket. But there is a primary difference:

  • Charities do not aim to collect any profit from their efforts, simply channeling the financial support they raise to a stated cause, group, or individual. Their impact is, therefore, more short-term in nature.
  • Nonprofit organizations do endeavor to make a “profit” (money beyond their cause’s immediate needs) so they can use that extra money to sustain additional research, staffing, and services for the long term.

Both charities and nonprofit organizations do incredible work to help others in our communities around the country, and the world. Giving to a reputable charity or nonprofit comes with the benefit of knowing that you’re making life better for people in ways you couldn’t do by yourself.

How Does a Non-Profit Use Donations?

Before donating to a nonprofit organization, it’s always a good idea to research how they use the money. This can give you some peace of mind about where your money is going and that it will have the most positive impact. There are a couple of ways to investigate charities and nonprofits you could consider donating to.

First, if you live in the United States, you can check if your nonprofit is an IRS-certified 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6). That means the nonprofit has registered and reports all its donations and income according to U.S. tax laws and regulations. Nonprofits must report how donations are used, whereas charities lacking 501(c)(3) certification can use the funds however they see fit. In both cases, most charities and nonprofits use money for direct, cause-related funding such as research and community support. They may also use funds to pay staff, rent research and support facilities, run promotional events, and buy equipment needed to support their mission. The key difference is that you can more clearly see where the money goes through a certified nonprofit organization, which can give you some extra peace of mind about how your donations are used.

You can also visit Charity Navigator, which is an organization that evaluates charities and nonprofits and gives them a four-star trust score that ranks how responsibly they spend their funds.

For example, the Global Lyme Alliance has used more than $19 million for research that has spearheaded advancements in both the treatment and prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. According to CDC statistics, about 476,000 Americans contract Lyme disease every year.²

How Donations Drive Change

Nonprofit organizations exist to support groups of people who are suffering, and yet not being adequately served by other community or governmental sources. Often, nonprofits can pool their resources and collect expertise to bid for more support and change from bigger sources like state or federal governments. One of the benefits of donating to nonprofits you are passionate about is that your dollars amplify dollars given by other supporters to bid for bigger changes on a broader scale.

Consider this, for example: Although so many people are currently suffering from Lyme disease, and more people in more areas are contracting it every year, science still hasn’t developed a reliable test or treatment protocol to fight it, largely because federal funds allocated toward this goal have been lacking. The Global Lyme Alliance has a rigorous process for choosing and funding researchers working at accredited universities and conducting evidence-based research that will lead to reliable testing and a cure for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases that will someday help millions of people get relief from this awful disease.

Why Donate to Nonprofits?

Remember how donating money to support a good cause was scientifically linked to happiness? Conversely, Harvard studies found a link between feelings of unhappiness and isolation in those who declined to donate.³ Part of the issue seems to be when people get in a rut, feeling there are so many problems and diseases in the world that they can’t possibly do anything to adequately help. Those who decided to donate to nonprofits doing work they were passionate about, however, understood that their donation was going to boost the quality of life for people in need. And that always feels good, especially when you know it’s really making an impact.

Fulfillment of Social Responsibility

Understanding that part of the inner core of our human nature is a need to feel useful and improve the lives of others leads to the definition of social responsibility. This can be understood in both an individual and an organizational context. As individual donors, we fulfill our responsibility to contribute to a better world when we donate to nonprofit organizations. We are “doing our part” as they say. On an organizational level, recent research shows that when corporations fulfill social responsibility goals, employees within that organization feel the benefits.⁴ Corporate donations to nonprofit organizations fulfill social responsibilities on a bigger scale, therefore, amplifying those feel-good brain chemicals for more people and driving bigger changes still.

Making a Tangible Difference

So, why should you donate to nonprofit organizations? Simply put, your donations truly help. They help people to live a better life. Whatever reputable organization you donate to, whatever cause you are passionate about, you know that you are making a real difference in at least one person’s life, but more likely in the lives of thousands more. It’s like a chain reaction. You may think you are only giving a few dollars. But by giving it to a nonprofit organization with a mission to help others, your impact grows exponentially. One person can only do so much, but together, our power to make a real difference in the lives of others can truly expand outward to change more lives for the better. You can literally make the world a better place.

Additional Benefits of Donating to Nonprofits

Aside from changing the world, there are several other positive and tangible benefits of donating to nonprofits that just keep the positive impact moving forward:

1. You’ll Become Better Informed

Looking into the background and missions of various nonprofit organizations you’re interested in donating to will naturally fill your mind with more knowledge and wisdom about the myriad of issues facing our communities and our planet—and discover how those things are inextricably connected. There are so many ways you can help, and by investigating the work of nonprofit organizations, you can also learn about innovative and creative ways that you can personally get involved in causes that matter to you and your family and community.

2. You’ll Inspire Others to Follow Your Generous Example

Once you become passionate about a cause that lifts people, your passion and example of giving become contagious to those around you, this happens in numerous ways. Children who watch their parents contributing to causes they care about are more likely to get involved and contribute in the future. Conversely, children lead the way when they see people in need and want to help, which leads the surrounding adults to pitch in. Friends get together to pool their resources to donate in a positive peer pressure way. Generosity is contagious.

3. Donations to Nonprofits are Tax Deductible

The idea behind this is that you are directly contributing to positive causes the government isn’t able to help with, so tax laws deduct your direct contributions to nonprofits as a “thank you” for helping move.

4. Your Donations Can Expand and Stabilize Important Work

Nonprofit organizations rely on donor generosity to keep their work rolling forward. Your donations can ensure that important work that’s already been done continues to grow and progress while providing important funding that can even expand that work into new areas.

Empowering Research and Innovation

For nonprofit organizations fighting against complicated illnesses like Lyme disease, donations can broaden the scope into new avenues of research and medical innovations that will eventually lead to better testing and cures that can save lives and improve the quality of life until the cures come. Monetary donations enable us to provide grants to accredited researchers and universities where this important work is taking place, which empowers them to keep going. You can see how donor funding has powered GLA’s innovations over the years on our timeline.

Raising Awareness and Advocacy

One of the most important benefits of donating to nonprofits is raising awareness and advocacy across the country. The more people know about the issues that nonprofit organizations are working with, the more vigilant they can be about solving problems or preventing suffering when they see it. In the case of Lyme disease, for example, more people being aware of precautionary measures to take to prevent bites from infected ticks can lead to a drop in the number of people infected. Also, more awareness of symptoms can lead to faster treatment and better outcomes for those who contract Lyme disease.

Tangible Benefits of Donating to Nonprofits

You or someone you love might be impacted by a problem that a nonprofit organization is working on a solution for. It doesn’t get more tangible than that. At the Global Lyme Alliance, we bring together individuals, families, doctors, and expert researchers who are fighting Lyme disease together. As a community, we are better able to help those we love than if we were fighting this battle alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with Lyme disease, please visit our patient resources page for helpful resources.

How to Get Involved

Getting involved with a nonprofit organization that you’re passionate about is a great way to change the world for the better and boost your happiness levels. The Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) has been making a positive impact on the health and well-being of the millions of people who already have Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses for nearly two decades, funding critical research toward a cure and a better life for those affected across the world. Get involved today:


  1. Park, S. Q., Kahnt, T., Dogan, A., Strang, S., Fehr, E., & Tobler, P. N. (2017). A neural link between generosity and happiness. Nature Communications, 8(15964), 15964. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms15964
  2. CDC. (2019). How many people get Lyme disease? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/humancases.html
  3. Walsh, C. (2008, April 17). Money spent on others can buy happiness. Harvard Gazette; Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/04/money-spent-on-others-can-buy-happiness/
  4. Bocean, C. G., Nicolescu, M. M., Cazacu, M., & Dumitriu, S. (2022). The Role of Social Responsibility and Ethics in Employees’ Wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(14), 8838. NCBI. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148838
Admin at GLA


Admin at GLA