Happiness is the gift that keeps on giving

Charles Wells

Over the past two years the UK has seen a sea change in how people give. Ploughing through social media chatter and echo chambers of fake news, real change has been taking place. Who do we turn to when our school’s funding is cut? Who do we turn to when we are ill and in need? Who do we turn to when the local sports club needs a lick of paint? Who do we turn to when we want to remember our loved ones?

We turn to each other. People turn to their friends, families, neighbours, communities and sometimes complete strangers and ask them to help create a change.

We at JustGiving have been privileged to witness you in your millions come to each other’s aid, and say we can change that. We can build that, we can help her, we can remember him, we can fund that. We can change lives through the simple, joyful act of giving. It feels good to give. It feels good to change a life. It makes us happy.

We call this non charity fundraising crowdfunding, and it is spreading across the country. In fact, 2016 witnessed a 300% increase of ordinary people turning to the crowd to raise money for everything from medical treatments to community projects to sport initiatives.

Take Helen who raised money to help a local shop keeper restore their polish food store that was destroyed in a petrol bomb attack. Hundreds of messages of support flooded in and within days over £30,000 was raised to refit and restock this local business.

Or the heart breaking story of Flo’s fight. Flo was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, at just 14 months old. Her family came together to raise money to secure Flo pioneering treatment in the US that was not covered by the NHS. Friends, communities and strangers came in their thousands and gave over £300,000. Sadly Flo lost her fight before making it to the US, but your generosity will save other children suffering from the same disease.

Not all crowdfunders are trying to raise a fortune, some are about coming together to do something small to put a smile on someone’s face. Millions of small acts of kindness are what tie us together as friends and communities. They are the fabric of society. Around 1.1 milllion people raised money on JustGiving in 2016 from over 10 million generous givers.

We live in a time of great hope, and that hope comes from ordinary people helping other ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. We are a nation of givers. We all know someone who’s life could be changed for the better. Crowdfunding has empowered us all to change a life with the simple click of a button.

That is why we are proud to be supporting the Happy List again this year. Extraordinary ordinary people need to be recognised. Their positivity and generosity shine through and inspire us all to be part of making good things happen. The more we give the more happiness we create and the more happy we feel.

You can nominate someone inspiring for this year's Happy List by clicking here. Charles Wells is the Chief Marketing Officer of JustGiving