why do we give money to charity

There are several questions that have fascinated behavioural scientists for decades: why do people ignore information that is right in front of us? Why do we seem to care so little about our long-term futures? And why do we give money to charity? Behavioural science can help us to unpack the question further. Researchers have looked into why people donate, why they donБt do it as much as they would hope to and how to bridge this gap. The explanations for charitable giving fall into three broad categories, from the purely altruistic Б I donate because I value the social good done by the charity. The БimpurelyБ altruistic Б I donate because I extract value from knowing I contribute to the social good for the charity. And the the not-at-all altruistic Б I donate because I want to show off to potential mates how rich I am. But are these motives strong enough to enable people to donate as much as they would want to? Most people support charities in one way or another, but often we struggle to make donations as often as we think we should. Although many people would like to leave a gift to charity in their will, they forget about it when the time comes. (pdf) that if the will-writer just asks someone if they would like to donate, they are more likely to consider it and the rate of donation roughly doubles. Many people are also aware that, but facts and figures are less attractive than narratives. that people are much beneficiary, than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced. that advertising which emphasises the proven effectiveness of the charity does not increase giving. Other evidence suggests that the effect of this information can actually be. In short, when it comes to charitable giving, we are often ruled by our hearts and not our heads.


Another of the major takeaways from the research in this area is that giving is fundamentally a social act. One study shows that people give significantly more to their university if the person calling and asking for their donation is their
Researchers found that when. ItБs not just out friends and families who can influence us. Donors to an international development charity than if it came from an anonymous source. In our own research working with a large employer and Marie Curie, we have found that celebrity supporters increase donations to charity, and fast Б but that this only appears to work for people who have donated to the charity before. The good news is that charitable giving is contagious Б and gentle encouragement from a prominent person in your life can make also make a big difference to your donation decisions Б more than quadrupling them in our recent study. Habit also plays a part Б those who volunteered before were more likely to donate their time than those who had not volunteered before. In summary, behavioural science identifies a range of factors that influence our donations, and can help us to keep giving in the longer term. This is great news not just for charities, but also for donors. has revealed that spending money on others actually makes us happier than spending it on ourselves, and. So what are we waiting for? For more news, opinions and ideas about the voluntary sector, Б itБs free! Tweeting that you have given money to the homeless dude on the street doesn t make you a hero, it makes you a tool. Here s the test: If you ve just committed some act of charity and it s limited to the change you had in your pocket, it s best keep that to yourself as it doesn t make you look good in anyone s eyes but your own.


Giving money alone is one of the least engaging ways of supporting your charity of choice. As the founder of the charity Hands Across the Water, I understand the need for income to run our facilities. Hands Across the Water is an organisation which has raised over $11 million for the kids of Thailand and managed to do so by creating a structure that allows us to ensure 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes straight to the kids. Our recurrent operational costs are now over $1. 4 million a year, so we need cash, but rather than just accepting donations from individuals or businesses, what I would prefer is that they engage in a shared experience with us. Experience has told me that if charities are focusing on simply seeking money and rattling the tin in the local shopping centre, they are more likely to just annoy the pants off people off, rather than to build an engaged donor base. People are looking for an opportunity to do more than they are currently asked to do by so many charities, which is simply give them money and let the charity get on to doing what they do. 1. Giving money to a charity is like a warm bath. You feel good when you are in but as soon as you are out the feeling has passed. 2. Giving money to a charity is likely to be the least informed decision you are likely to make. It s time to make decisions with your head, not your heart when it comes to charity and make the bigger difference that we are all seeking. 3. By giving money you are not getting an experience for yourself and you re unlikely to sit around the dinner table or at the pub and talk about the experience, unless you re one of those tools, I previously mentioned.


When you have a shared experience, your engagement with the charity will grow and you will have your own story, which is then of interest to others. 4. Giving money alone to a charity often ends the conversation and relationship with the charity. You have done what you have been asked to do, but where is the benefit for you? When you derive a benefit yourself as an individual or a business you start to reap some of the rewards that come from effective giving and then you are more likely to form an attachment with the charity and become a longer term supporter. Charities need money, that is very clear, and not everyone has the desire or the capacity to do more. Some make their annual donation and are quite happy with that. Some are small donations which can be just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of lots of little drops. There s nothing wrong with giving money but the progressive charities, those that are seeing the shift in how donors want to support, are creating increased opportunities for their donors to become supporters. They are giving them the opportunity to have their own story and become advocates for the charity of their choice. Simply making a donation won t give that to you. netball team or scouts, that s not charity, that s your social responsibility. Beyond that if it really is about making a difference to your charity, find a way to become engaged, find a way to create your own shared experience. When you do this you will benefit and the charity will benefit and therein lies the magic. is the founder of Hands Across the Water and has just released a book, Doing Good by Doing Good. Is it enough to give money to charity? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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