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The joy of giving

The joy of giving


This September, Remember A Charity Week are asking the nation to pass on something legendary. By reflecting on the words of wisdom they would pass on to future generations, the ‘Legends pass it on’ campaign celebrates people passing on a legacy to the future through both their giving and their legendary advice.


Alex McDowell, Group Head of Community Development and Growth at RNIB reflects on the idea of giving and how we could consider leaving a lasting memory. 

"As a child, I always looked forward to Christmas. The anticipation, the food and perhaps above all, the presents I would (hopefully!) receive from Father Christmas.


As I got older, the anticipation of Christmas presents ebbed away. Now, as a parent of young children, I find that anticipation and excitement is back. The only difference is the joy now comes from the giving of presents and not receiving them. It's seeing my children's faces as they tear apart the wrapping paper to (hopefully!) find the present they've been wishing for the last 6 months.


This reflection on the pleasure of giving was provoked by an article I read on the BBC website. It was a 'feel good' story about a premier league footballer who also appeared to have rediscovered the joy of giving. His 'epiphany' followed an evening spent driving round Swansea searching for homeless people to whom he and his wife could donate left-over food. The story became public when the footballer took to social media to find local shelters and charities who could use the food.


One particular quote from the story that stuck in my mind. " was just a little gesture, we drove for only 1 hour and felt great".


I was not surprised that the footballer's kindness 'felt great'. I was slightly surprised that the joy of giving could be surprising!


This made me wonder how many of us forget (or never receive) the joy of giving? More specifically, how can we be reminded of the joy of giving when giving through our Will?


Gifts in Wills may be the most impactful gift many of us will ever give to the causes we care about. Is it not a shame that 'little gestures' can make us feel great but giving a gift that allows us to make a difference to our favourite causes while also passing on our values, our kindness and our hopes for the future doesn't always evoke a similar feeling?


On face value, it's not hard to see why this may be the case. Giving through one's Will requires one to write a Will. A process that makes us confront our mortality, reflect on losing those we love and looking back at all we have achieved (or not yet achieved) in our lifetime. It's also a process that typically includes a trip to a solicitor and a financial cost. Even a rampant optimist like myself may lose some joy during that process!


So what can be done to help people feel as brilliant as they should do when they kindly choose to give through their Will?


If you are one of the millions of people who may one day consider giving a gift to your favourite charity in your Will (or have already done so), take a moment to find out more about the impact of your favourite charity. Find the stories and successes that connect with you; this is the kind of positive impact that is made possible thanks to your kindness. 


Your Will and your legacy is a personal and private matter but perhaps consider contacting the charities to ask for more information about their work and their plans. I'm sure they'd welcome your questions. And the chance to say thank you."


This Remember A Charity Week, consider what you would pass on to future generations. Join the campaign using the online quote generator #mywisdom