I Can See Your Halo

Volunteers do lots of good things for others and never brag about it. And some researchers decided to try to put a dollar value on what they do, to figure out what would happen if they suddenly stopped. It’s called the Halo Project.

For this particular study, the think tank Cardus looked specifically at congregations from any and all religious faiths. They found that for every dollar in a religious group’s annual budget, its city benefited in the amount of $4.77. That’s a pretty big return on investment. The soup kitchens, refugee settlement efforts, low-income earners’ help and everything else is of great benefit to a community but we aren’t always aware of it. Putting it into hard numbers helps.

The study found that if all of these groups suddenly left London they would take the equivalent of $811-million dollars out of our city’s economy. They’re quick to caution that this formula is an estimating tool, not formal research. But even if it’s in the ballpark, it’s fascinating to know that what so many people are doing simply because they want to (or their religion tells them to) is so valuable to the wider population.

I asked the lead Social Scientist why they just looked at religious groups and he said it was because they had to start somewhere, and those particular organizations were easy to isolate and count. They have plans to broaden the scope of the project in the future.

If you’d like to see how your city benefits from the good works of others, the Halo Project Calculator can be accessed HERE.

And while we’re on the subject of good deeds, London now has Kindness Meters. Proceeds are voluntary and go to charities.

On Fridays I run a Really Late Review in this space. Please send me your review of any movie, TV show, music, podcast, book – as long as it’s not brand new – to lisambrandt1@gmail.com. 

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