Lots of people volunteer, or donate to charities. This type of generous behavior usually comes from two interconnected motivations. First, there’s the desire to help others. Second, there’s the enjoyment that people experience when helping others by giving time or money freely. Yet, a new study has shown that certain ways of contributing to charities and non-profits will lead to greater happiness for the giver. People were most satisfied with their donation when it created a social connection, or was given to someone they know, rather than making an anonymous donation to a cause they support. It called to mind a post I read a while back on Yes and Yes, when she donated to Planned Parenthood online. While it was a cause she fully supported, contributing a significant sum of money to support them didn’t leave her basking in the warm glow of charity as she thought it might. It turns out that science is behind those lack luster feelings, and that because there was no social connection the positive enjoyment just wasn’t there. The researchers suggest that these new findings might impact how non-profits seek new donations using social networking, and they definitely impact you if you’re planning to do any donating. Give time face to face when you can meet and get to know the people you are helping, host a clothing swap party to give your friends old clothes you want to get rid of, or donate to your favorite charity through a friend who is doing a run for the cause, and you’ll feel happier while helping others.