Module 3: Why Do People Give?

The Ubiquity of Charitable Giving

Fundraising may initially seem like a daunting task because we operate under the assumption that people generally do not like to give away money.  However, as an example, citizens in the U.S. give 1.7% of its entire GDP to charity.  Also, 65% of households that earn less than $100,000 a year give to charity.(1)  More than half of the people who give money to charitable causes do not receive tax benefits from their gift because they file short tax forms, and 70% of all adults in the U.S. donate money.(2)  More than just knowing that people can be generous, it is very important to understand why people give.

Common Reasons for Giving

As a volunteer involved in fundraising, it is important for you to understand these motives so that you can better respond to your donor's needs.  In fact, your work with Unite For Sight can directly address all of these reasons, depending on what aspects of your involvement you wish to emphasize.  Be creative and personable with your fundraising; most people are willing to have a conversation about why you think they should donate money to your cause.  You would also be surprised at how much some people are willing to give:

Younger donors give about as much as older donors. According to a recent study by Campbell & Company at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, donors across all generations give roughly the same amount to charity even when controlled for factors such as income, education, and religiosity...Young people are willing to give larger amounts, but they won’t if they’re under-asked. A lot of Millennials can easily give $100, but in our experience, organizations are only asking them for $25 or $50 gifts”(5)

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(2) Sims, S.  “Why Do People Donate to Charitable Causes?” Step By Step Fundraising: Practical Resources to Help You Raise Funds for Non Profit Causes.

(3) Lingard, B.  “Marathons – Raise More Money for Your Non-Profit” The Online Fundraising Blog

(4) “9 Reasons People Give Charity, and 1 More” Fundraising Seeds: The Non-Profit Resource

(5) Fritz, J.  “Young vs. Older Donors: Who Is More Generous?  Are You Asking Enough?” Non-Profits.