Money CAN buy you happiness…

By Krista Van Tassel
October 5th, 2012

…if you give it away! At least that’s the message according to Michael Norton, a social change researcher at Harvard, based on a recent TEDxCambridge presentation.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about philanthropy because September marks Wells Fargo’s annual Community Support Campaign. Every year, our team members from across the company donate time and money to the community organizations that matter the most to them.

What I particularly like about Professor Norton’s call to action is his recommendation to help DonorsChoose, an innovative nonprofit that helps schools in need find resources through individual donations. Our Wells Fargo Green Team uses DonorsChoose as part of our end-of-year recognition. Instead of buying our teams “stuff” to thank them for their work throughout the year, we provide money to donate to a local school.

Our team members actually prove Professor Norton’s research by sharing their inspiring stories with each other and exchanging messages with the students and teachers they’ve supported. In fact, even as I’m writing this post, I smile each time I look at my office collection of “Thank you” notes from students who received a DonorsChoose donation. When I see the joy in these hand-made notes, from kids I’ve never met, I have to admit it makes me happy, too!

But regardless of how you opt to spend your money, I think you’ll find this research both informative and inspiring. Just think what good we could all bring to the world if we “bought” a little more happiness through giving.

Krista Van Tassel

Krista Van Tassel

As Community and Team Member Engagement manager for Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs Team, Krista supports the company’s 70+ Green Teams, recognizing and promoting environmental innovator best practices, and engaging and educating team members about their role in helping the company’s sustainability efforts. She also manages Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities’ $3 million annual nonprofit grant program focused on helping make long-term sustainable economic investments in local communities where its customers and 264,000 team members work and live. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, Krista worked in a variety of sustainability and marketing positions in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Krista earned her MBA in International Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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