How You Give Back, Based on Your Enneagram Type

What can you do to make the world a better place? It's a big question, and the answer is likely not that simple, but part of it may be found in understanding your Enneagram personality type.

Different habits of attention have different styles. While we all seek a better world, the way we contribute can look a little different when it comes to volunteering time and donating money. Below we offer you a guide to giving back, based on your Enneagram type. But first…

Truity Gives Back

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, we’re taking a minute to reflect on how we can all do our part to give back and create a better world. As part of Truity's mission to ensure that scientifically validated personality tests are accessible to everyone who needs them, the company is donating 10% of sales on January 16 to nonprofits working to help underserved youth and incarcerated people find their paths in life. Our nonprofit partners are:

  • The Last Mile is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for personal and professional growth for justice-impacted individuals through technical training and education.
  • 916 Ink is a Sacramento-based nonprofit focused on youth empowerment, offering creative writing, art exploration, and other free classes for underserved youth.

How will you give back to your communities? Here are some ideas for every Enneagram type. 

Type 1 Perfectionist: your giving-back style is efficient.

Efficiency is one of your superpowers. From volunteering your time to donating your money, you want to make sure you make maximum impact with your limited resources. You like to go to the root cause of the problem, so we won’t be surprised to find you volunteering at non-profits that offer education to the underprivileged or donating to groups that work on public policy or to political causes. You want to make sure your time and money make a difference, and with your organization skills and strong sense of responsibility, you are a great addition to any volunteer team. Just resist the urge to give them a list of what they could be doing better.

Type 2 Giver: your giving-back style is supportive.

You really care about those around you, and you are deeply affected by your environment. Your thoughts gravitate to whoever might feel lonely, isolated or unsupported. Delivering meals to the elderly or offering break times to single mothers are the types of activities you like to get involved in. You imagine the smiles your work will generate and the relief on the faces of the people who benefit, and it warms your heart. Just remember to set clear limits on your efforts – we know personal boundaries are not your strong point.

Type 3 Achiever: your giving style is observable.

With your go-getter attitude and drive to succeed, you like to see the fruits of your labor with your own two eyes. It goes without saying that you prefer volunteer opportunities that manifest into something observable. Building houses for the poor or chaperoning inner city kids for a day in nature might be your style, but it can be anything where you know for a fact you made a difference. And while your critics might suggest you are volunteering for the photo opportunity, the truth is you have a big heart and get a lot of joy from helping others.

Type 4 Individualist: your giving style is sensitive.

You are sensitive, and a lot of things can touch your heart. In all likelihood, it was something small but meaningful that sparked your drive to give back. From walking shelter dogs to participating in a musical performance at a homeless shelter, you put your heart and soul into it when you decide to give your time and money. Volunteering is great for you but try to resist the urge to worry that you didn’t make a big enough impact. You did.

Type 5 Investigator: your giving style is well-researched.

There is no doubt you’ve thoroughly researched the subject before committing your time or money to a cause. You have a penetrating mind that doesn’t shy away from thorny problems – the consequences of financial inequality, the eroding biodiversity and global access to clean water are all things that might capture your attention. We won’t be surprised to find you offering your services in a clear and focused way to address important issues you have some expertise in. A technology volunteer might be right up your alley if it means you can share your expertise but still stay behind the scenes. And we know not to look for your name if you donate – you’ll probably keep it anonymous.

Type 6 Skeptic: your giving style is practical.   

With all the challenges in the world, it can feel like there are an endless number of places to dedicate your volunteer hours and dollars to, but with limited resources, we know you’ll stick to the most pressing problems. Climate change is on your mind a lot these days, and from collecting trash to planting trees, you’ll find lots of ways to donate your time and money to make a difference. You like things to be predictable, and that means when you find a volunteer opportunity that suits you, you’ll likely become a regular participant. This is great news because while others might come and go, you loyally show up time and time again.

Type 7 Enthusiast: your giving style is enthusiastic.

You like adventures and you like to stay active, so opportunities where you run a race for a cause are right up your alley. From fundraising to support cures for cancer or leukemia, and from races ranging from fun runs to triathlons, there are lots of options so you’ll find the one that is right for you. You're well-suited for these competitions because, with your bubbly personality and positive outlook, you might even convince a few of your friends to join you. After all, the more the merrier, and everyone is raising money for good causes.

Type 8 Challenger: your giving style is direct.

One of your values is self-sufficiency, but you also understand that not everyone has equal opportunities so you welcome the chance to help level the playing field. You like it real, so we likely will find you working in an unglamorous environment with the underprivileged who just need a little support to change their situation. Advocacy for refugees, abandoned pets, or other vulnerable populations are where you have a soft spot. You’ve got a tough exterior but a heart of gold, and when you help others, we see it most clearly.

Type 9 Peacemaker: your giving style is collaborative.

With your easy-going style and excellent listening skills, you fit well into most volunteer organizations so the trick is finding an opportunity that really speaks to you. You like being with people you know, and corporate responsibility is an ever-growing initiative, so talk to your human resources team to see what company volunteer opportunities are out there. Team orientation is a place you especially excel since you are so good at making others feel welcome.

In summary

Each person has their own unique circumstances, but we hope this guide offers you inspiration for how you can get involved. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that volunteering is really good for your health. Studies show that participating in volunteer work is predictive of better physical and mental health, increased life span, higher self-esteem, increased happiness, and lower instances of depression. Everyone wins when you give back!

Lynn Roulo

Lynn Roulo is an Enneagram instructor and Kundalini Yoga teacher who teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She has written two books combining the two systems. Headstart for Happiness, her first book is an introduction to the systems. The Nine Keys, her second book, focuses on the two systems in intimate relationships. Learn more about Lynn and her work here at LynnRoulo.com.

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