Giving increases happiness and quality of life
Itır Erhart, an academic at Bilgi University, is an inspiration and a role model for me. She was one of the founders of “Adım Adım” (Step by Step). Thanks to her, thousands of people have run; she has changed running into another format. She introduced charity and doing favors into our lives. Now she is presenting “Açık Açık” (Openly).
Adım Adım celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. In those 10 years, 111,000 donors donated 14.5 million Turkish Liras through Adım Adım runners. Reviewing the factors that have affected donation decisions, they have seen that transparency, trust and social effects were at the top. In other words, if a nongovernmental organization meets these criteria, then individuals and institutions provide donations.
They came up with Açık Açık after analyzing donor behavior. For instance, donors demand to know how their donations were spent, as well as transparency and accountability.
Açık Açık is a platform which unites donors with NGOs that respect the rights of donors. For instance, you want to make donations and you want to support women but you do not know which NGOs are operating in this field. You can find NGOs in this field and learn about their aims, projects and administrators. You can compare and contact them. If you want, you can donate. You are informed of tax advantages and other useful information. Everything is open…
I asked her, “Are people in this country dying to make donations? Are there so many companies, individuals and groups that do not know where to donate?”
Her reply was affirmative. “Yes, there are many institutions and individuals who have many questions on where and how to donate. Açık Açık is aiming to facilitate and in a way ease their lives. We want to convince these people who have never donated before. We ask them what they want to change. We want them to think about this for the first time. We believe that doing favors, giving, sharing and facilitating change are good for the individual. Giving increases both happiness and quality of life.
“This platform has 30 NGOs, from the Ali İsmail Korkmaz Foundation to UNICEF. We are inviting all associations and foundations to Açık Açık. The more answers we have to the question, ‘What would you like to change?’ the more we will be able to convince many more individuals and institutions to contribute and share,” she said.
Other than being open and transparent, this platform has other values, such as helping, solidarity, making a difference, sustainability, credibility, sharing and, of course, change. As a side effect of all of these comes individual and social welfare and happiness…
Asked about the level of the potential of people helping the underprivileged in this country, Erhart said she saw this potential as high. “What is important is to take the first step. We are trying to facilitate this first step. After this first step, it doesn’t take long to see that it is good for you and your environment. Charity is something that you want to do more and you become happier as you do it. It is beyond the momentary happiness you feel. It makes you feel like you belong to bigger things. You feel the satisfaction that you have made an attempt to make the world a better place… “
You can go to acikacik.org to reach this platform.