Connect With Your Donors: Why Do People Donate?


Americans donate billions of dollars each year to various charity organizations. For many, the main reason is certain tax deductions. However, what are the core reasons people choose to donate their money to charity organizations?

There are as many reasons for donating, as there are people, but there has to be some common shared inner and outer reasons why most people donate their hard-earned cash to help charities and non-profit organizations fulfill their goals.

One very strong outer incentive to give money, is the recognition that comes with it, and many charity organizations have realized this fact and contribute to this need for recognition by offering gifts, greeting cards, address labels, and special mentions on their websites. Although this incentive works for some, research has found that others who give, are not concerned with receiving any public form of recognition, and cannot be enticed to give for that reason. There are people who give to satisfy deeper inner urges to fulfill moral and religious needs. The Journal of marketing found that these types of givers have no need for recognition. Moral givers respond more to events and award dinners, says an assistant Marketing professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Are these morally motivated givers very selfless human beings, only concerned with the needs of others? According to researcher, James Andreoni, there is something called, “the warm glow theory” related to the act of giving. This “warm glow” is the satisfying feeling that people experience after giving to a charitable cause. Andreoni calls this discovery, “impure altruism”, because people receive a strong sense of well-being after giving, the act of giving actually includes a level of self-interest. Andreoni did clarify in an interview on the subject, that self-interest does not equate to selfishness, and that giving back to your community, whatever the reasons; internal, or external, can still produce plenty of good in the world.