How Donors Choose Charities

Charitable giving is often driven by personal taste, not perceived need

A very interesting article in which research shows that when organisations receive donations, it is often decided by the giver’s own inclinations and preferences.

When someone gives money to charity, it’s often assumed they are donating because they’re moved by the needs of others and want to help. Previous studies have found that it’s widely assumed charities are primarily focused on those in need, and that most donor activity has the needy in mind. But in reality, this is not always the case.

I recently completed a study, How Donors Choose Charities, that discovered that people in the main choose to support causes that mean something to them, rather than supporting charitable organisations that meet the most urgent needs.

Sixty committed donors from across the UK were asked to explain how they select which causes to support out of the tens of thousands of registered charities that covet their contributions. Their answers show that charitable choices are largely driven by the donor’s own inclinations and preferences, a desire to help people they feel some affinity with, and a partiality for certain causes as a result of personal experiences. In short, much charitable giving is taste-driven, rather than needs-driven.

Read the full article on the Guardian site.

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