Donors often agree with this old adage: It’s better to give than receive. A donor we interviewed remembers the first time he had an opportunity to give a large sum of money. He donated his inheritance—a “fairly good-sized amount of money”—to various organizations. “The feeling after you write that check, the feeling of having done that…it just lasts forever,” the donor recalls.

In the case of this donor—and probably many of yours—his motivation to give came from his personal experiences. He shared a family tradition of giving joyfully:

Making intentional personal gifts allows you to be a role model for people you care about. Growing up, Fridays were paydays for my father. I watched him pay bills that day, but he always paid his donations first. I saw how carefully he spent his money and cared for his possessions so that they would last longer, thereby enabling him to be as generous as possible—because he loved it.

Feelings of joy and satisfaction can come from modest gifts as well. This same donor recalls giving a smaller contribution:

Probably the most personally meaningful gift was not a huge gift at all, but it was one that my wife and I gave in recognition of a physician with whom we had both a personal and professional relationship. We actually had a small ceremony at one of the Foundation Board meetings where we notified the physician of the contribution we had made in his honor. Knocked the socks of off him. Completely. And to see the smile on that doctor’s face, because we actually donated money to the hospital in his name because of the great care and service he provided to our family over the years was tremendously gratifying.

Once someone has experienced the joy of truly meaningful philanthropy, it’s only natural to want to share that joy, giving others the opportunity to experience it, as well. In fact, this donor became a volunteer fundraiser so he could share the joy with others. He sums it up well: “I think people were created to help. I think we all have that innate ability. People will jump in unbelievably to help, so I think we were created to give. And by giving, we receive.”

Have you had the privilege of witnessing the joy of meaningful giving? Share your experience on social media.