NEW YORK — Three-quarters of Americans believe that if they do a good deed, the next person will pay it forward. That’s according to a recent survey of 2,000 respondents, in which most define a “good deed” as an action that makes someone else feel good (64%). Moreover, nearly half believe a good deed is something that benefits another individual, regardless if they personally know them or not (46%).
Helping someone with a task (61%), donating to someone in need (59%), saying “good morning” (53%), and even holding a door open for someone (53%) are the good deeds most likely to turn that kind soul’s day around.
Nearly nine in 10 also contribute to a charity in some way and feel better about themselves when they do so. Plus, those who give back are almost twice as likely to say they’re satisfied with their lives.
Are good deeds the key to happiness?
The survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Walgreens ahead of Giving Tuesday, which falls on November 30. Results show that good deeds are rewarding and can have hidden mental and physical health benefits causing the people who perform them to feel happy (92%), relaxed (77%), and healthy (71%).
In fact, according to nine in 10 Americans, the best reward may be the good deed itself. Respondents donate an average of $168 annually and almost all admit they donate more during the holiday season than at other times of the year. On average, people add on an extra $404 during the holidays.
The vast majority of those who donate are more likely to focus their efforts on a local group rather than a national charity or nonprofit organization (92%). Two-thirds believe this will have a bigger impact and three in five believe it’s more trustworthy.
The spirit of giving inspires some to focus on holiday-specific causes, including charities that distribute toys to children in need.
“Our data shows that more than half of those who donate choose health-related charities,” says Maria Smith, Vice President of Payments & Financial Services at Walgreens, in a statement. “It’s also interesting that those same consumers prioritize their shopping at retailers that share their values and support causes they believe in.”
Eight in 10 respondents say they’re more likely to shop for a specific product or at a particular store when they believe it will benefit a cause they care about. Despite this sentiment, three in four Americans wish the companies and the products they chose made it easier to give more.