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09 August 2015 Posted by 


Go on give, because it's a primal urge

By Anthony Moss
Chairman Sydney Hills Business Chamber

ARE you motivated to go to work or run your business each day by the need for income?

Many would say “yes, of course” to that question without giving it much thought, and be wrong.

Our deeper motivation is more likely to be the desire to help our families enjoy a good lifestyle – even if we don’t think of it that way each day.

But recognising your true motive could have a positive impact on your productivity and success, while ‘giving’ to benefit others could improve your personal happiness and physical health.

Born to give

Giving or contributing to the community to help others is by no means a modern concept, but it might be a more primal drive than we think.

In a 2007 University of Oregon study researchers used an MRI to monitor brain activity as study participants who’d been given $100 watched as the money was given to a food bank.

For one group, the donation was in the form of a tax that had to be donated. For the second, it was voluntary. Two primitive areas of the brain associated with pleasure were activated for both groups, with greater activation when the $100 was given voluntarily.

Harvard Business School studies on prosocial spending data from 136 countries concluded that the happiness we feel when we use our resources to help others is universal – and it’s not dependent on our level of wealth.

Giving is more motivating than money

Yet more evidence suggests that giving generates stronger motivation within us than the promise of a monetary reward, even when we consciously believe we’d prefer a personal reward.

A recent study involving experiments in three countries (including Australia) found that people given bonuses that had to be donated to a charity or spent on another team member were not only happier for it – their performance improved.

In a University of Michigan study two control groups of fundraising call centre personnel read and discussed a letter from a beneficiary, while a third intervention group were able to speak personally with a beneficiary for five minutes.

One month later callers in the intervention group were spending 142% more time on calls and raising 171% more money than those in the other two groups.

Good for health

Want to live longer? Volunteer! Research on ageing subjects conducted in California found that those who volunteered for two or more organisations had a reduced mortality rate over the period of 44% compared to those who did not volunteer.

Researchers found the difference could only partly be attributed to other factors such as health habits and social support.

Getting involved

There are numerous options when it comes to helping others in our community.  So many members of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber actively support one or more charities, either financially, or by donating time or services.

It seems to me that a lot of Hills locals don’t need studies to tell them that giving creates happiness at both ends, and perhaps that’s what makes this such a great place to live and work.

If you’re currently looking for an opportunity to get more involved in supporting local charities, why not sign up to participate in the Hills Winter Sleep Out on August 22, or consider sponsoring someone else to brave the cold for a good cause? I’ll be participating again this year.

If you’d like to join me visit http://www.hillswintersleepout.com.au/ to purchase your ticket.

Our August Chamber events will also be focussed on the theme Business & Community. If you’re not a Chamber member, why not come along and get to know some other members of your local business community? To register for an event or learn more about the Chamber, visit






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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.