Archive for the ‘Generosity’ Category

The Science Behind Giving

October 20, 2015

Why People Give?

brain“Behavioural insight research shows that when it comes to charitable giving the public are often ruled by their heart, not their head.”  Photograph: Peter Bowater/Alamy

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 don’t 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 – I donate because I value the social good done by the charity. The “impurely” altruistic – I donate because I extract value from knowing I contribute to the social good for the charity. And the the not-at-all altruistic – 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. Our research shows (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.

Hearts over heads

Many people are also aware that they should donate to the causes that have the highest impact, but facts and figures are less attractive than narratives. In a series of experiments, it was found that people are much more responsive to charitable pleas that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary, than they are to statistical information about the scale of the problem being faced. Further work also discovered 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 the opposite . In short, when it comes to charitable giving, we are often ruled by our hearts and not our heads.

Influenced by others

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 former roommate. Researchers found that when JustGiving donors see that the donor before them has made a large donation, they make a larger donation themselves .

It’s not just out friends and families who can influence us. Donors to an international development charity were more likely to respond to a match–funding campaign if they knew that that the match came from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation 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 – but that this only appears to work for people who have donated to the charity before.

Giving is contagious

The good news is that charitable giving is contagious – seeing others give makes an individual more likely to give and gentle encouragement from a prominent person in your life can make also make a big difference to your donation decisions – more than quadrupling them in our recent study. Habit also plays a part – in three recent experiments 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. Research has revealed that spending money on others actually makes us happier than spending it on ourselves, and giving to others can actually make us healthier. So what are we waiting for?

Above Article Sourced Here:


What Can I Give?

Last night, I was at a charitable event on Wall Street. I watched as the people who create money from their brains gave incredibly generous amounts for a great cause. The charity event was for Matt’s Promise, a 10-year-old nonprofit determined to wipe out Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, a disease which kills young boys before they reach the age of 20.

In 10 short years, this dedicated organization of volunteers together with their partners at Charley’s Fund has directed over $25 million into scientific research resulting in promising new therapies that may save the lives of those living with this disease. Sure the auction items and amounts paid were impressive, but what really inspired me during the evening were the stories of how people had given so much more beyond money.

This motivated team through this partnership has been using their combined time, influence, talents and smarts to help launch the Race To Yes campaign, a critical effort to accelerate the FDA drug approval process. Such a task is herculean and can not be accomplished with money alone. With the right help they may even wipe out this disease in their next decade.

We’re used to charitable organizations asking us to “give and give generously.” Most people think they are referring to money–and no doubt that any nonprofit can make use of cash donations. But not everyone has the extra cash available to give until it hurts. Many people want to be charitable, but with the costs of starting a business or raising a family, not everyone can spare the money to help make a difference. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to give value in other ways.

1. Give time.

Even people driving a startup company can find an hour or two to dedicate to a cause. I know companies that pool committed hours from employees so they can offer blocks of time to a worthy cause. In one year, a team of 20 people offering two hours a month can add up to 480 hours of energetic time for a need. It might be just enough to make the difference.

2. Give in-kind.

You might not have money, but you have supplies, skills, and products people want. Reach out to the director of a nonprofit you like and find out what the organization can use to carry out its mission. Often it can be something simple you can offer. If you are a catering company, you might offer food or serving ware. If you do custom printing, you might help with napkins or bookmarks. Get creative. Matt’s Promise has benefited from filmmakers who create awareness for Duchenne’s M.D. through art. Many nonprofits thrive on these in-kind exchanges.

3. Give space.

Young underfunded nonprofits often need a home. Your business could be a headquarters, or at least a regular meeting place, for their worthwhile activity. It could be the use of your parking lot, conference room, or even just a cubicle in your office. You can even provide nonphysical space. It could be space on your blog or newsletter to promote the organization or upcoming event. Take stock of the space you have that could easily be valuable to others and share.

4. Give expertise.

As a successful businessperson, you have great experience to share. Many of the folks working at charities are smart and capable, but they are juggling their volunteer work with all of their other responsibilities, and trying to educate themselves in fields that may be completely new. They can benefit from a fresh perspective and new insights. So if you have a solid grasp of finance, marketing, graphics, management, design, or any other professional subject that they can put to use, offer to make yourself available for questions or consultation. Feel free to set reasonable limits on time.

5. Give access.

6. Give an ear.

Nonprofit and charity work is frequently difficult, exhausting, and thankless. Even if what the organization is doing is fascinating, necessary, and world-changing, the volunteers will often feel worn-out and unappreciated. Sometimes, they just need someone willing to listen to the frustrations and difficulties they encounter. A little sympathy goes a long way. At the very least, you can afford to buy them a beer and listen when they talk. When they’re done, tell them you understand and you admire and appreciate their efforts.

The Above Article Sourced Here;