How Giving Back Can Transform Your Life

Did you know that altruism, stemming from a deep, genuine desire to help people and the community, is good for your well-being? Volunteering your time and participating in acts of kindness bolsters your mental health; feeling more socially connected prevents loneliness and depression. It can also improve your physical wellness. A 2013 study out of Carnegie Mellon University published in Psychology and Aging found that adults over age fifty who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure, which contributes to conditions such as heart disease and strokes, than non-volunteers.

I’m sure none of those benefits would surprise Dan Erling, the CEO & President of Accountants One, a recruiting firm that focuses on delivering highly qualified and culturally aligned accounting & financial professionals to its clients. After all, he has had a lifelong commitment to community outreach.

A former inner-city schoolteacher, Erling places a particularly high value on education. “I believe education is so important to our youth and I think it’s important for all students to have the resources to enhance their learning,” he explains.

That’s why Erling became passionate about building a strong partnership with Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgiaafter he joined Accountants One in 1998. His father Bert, who started the firm nearly 50 years ago, was already civic-minded and Erling took it to the next level. He has been on the JA of Georgia Board for over ten years and serves on multiple boards within the organization while the entire Accountants One team has participated at numerous volunteer days.

Back in 2007, Erling had an unconventional idea for a creative fundraiser called the Search for Atlanta’s Funniest Accountant. He partnered with emcee Tommy Housworth to provide coaching for the amateur comedians, all of whom worked as local financial professionals. The inaugural comedy search was a huge hit, and 15 years later the show continues to make a great impact on the entire southeast.

(Pictured (left to right): Dan Erling celebrates 2019 Funniest Accountant Search winner Brad Manning of Grant Thornton, along with Lindsay Grimsley of Accountants One and emcee Tommy Housworth.)

“I am so proud of the show and how much we have been able to donate over the years,” said Erling. “To date, we’ve been able to raise nearly half a million dollars. I do think one of the greatest assets of the show is bringing awareness to the community about Junior Achievement of Georgia and what they stand for.”

It is clear that JA of Georgia has benefitted from this charitable partnership. But giving back in this manner has also been transformational for Erling too. “The thing about giving – is that when you give – it’s amazing how addictive it becomes,” he enthused. “It feels good, and you want to give and do more. Instead of feeling like you are getting less, you are actually getting more in the process. I just get so much from giving back.”

The Search for the South’s Funniest Accountant will take place on November 10, 2022, at the Coca-Cola Roxy at The Battery in Atlanta, Georgia at 8:00 p.m. To learn more, visit

Want to start giving back in a meaningful manner? Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Choose an organization that truly resonates with you. While there are numerous non-profit organizations and worthy groups to select, choose a cause near and dear to your heart as the recipient for your giving to promote strong sense of well-being and accomplishment.
  • Determine how you’d like to participate. Will it be a one-time occurrence, like volunteering at a special event, or something you do on a long-term basis? Do you plan to write a check, volunteer, or do a combination of both? Think about those parameters in advance.
  • Think outside of the box. Erling created his own innovative fundraiser to benefit JA of Georgia. While I’ve volunteered at multiple organizations over the decades, my “giving groove” is acts of mentorship and I do that on my own without being formally involved with an organization to facilitate. Trust your instincts and be open to doing something different that lights you up personally while helping others.

How have you given back to the community? What impact has that made on your life?

If you have been feeling a little – or even a lot – stuck these days, check out my “What Kind of Stuck Are You?” Quiz to gain more insight on what may be holding you back – and what to do about it.

Looking for a step-by-step process to help you get unstuck and stay that way for good? Check out Free and Clear: Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Want. It is chock-full of helpful tips, easy-to-use tools and inspirational stories of individuals who overcame obstacles against the odds.

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