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Why Do People Give to Charitable Organizations?

One of the kindest things a person can do is give to charity, but what drives him or her to do so? Some donors may simply follow the example of others, while some may give for faith-based reasons. There is an actual science behind generosity, and nonprofit organizations can use those findings to boost giving.

Truth and Altruism

According to The Guardian, the motivation for charitable giving falls into three broad categories:

  • Purely altruistic — Donors give because they value the charity’s benefit to the social good.
  • “Impurely” altruistic — Donors find value in giving to the social good directly for the charity.
  • Not-at-all altruistic — Donors give to demonstrate their wealth.

And there are even more reasons why people give — or do not give — to charity. Personal values play a large role. Some donors say they have a duty to give back to society and want to share their good fortune with others. Seeing others give is another motivation for charitable giving; it is contagious. People also give because they firmly believe in the cause, and they may support a nonprofit for faith-related reasons. Personal experience also plays a role in donor behavior. For example, a former homeless person may be more likely to help out at a shelter, and a military veteran might join forces with an agency that helps veterans find jobs.

People also have reasons for not giving. According to one study, called “I’m Moral, But I Won’t Help You: The Distinct Roles of Empathy and Justice in Donations”, people were less likely to give to charity if they perceived the recipients as responsible for their circumstances due to drug and alcohol abuse or gambling problems, for example.

The Master’s in Nonprofit Administration

Nonprofit managers can benefit from studying motivation for charitable giving, which can help them design effective strategies to increase donations. Managers with a Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration can particularly put their research skills to good use at a charitable organization by applying the advanced knowledge and expertise they encountered in their degree programs. The online degree program includes lessons in nonprofit development and management, fundraising and planned giving, research methods, nonprofit governance, financial management and human resource management.

An online master’s in nonprofit administration takes about 12 months to complete, and you can study whenever it fits your schedule, enabling you to fulfill existing personal or professional obligations. Increasing the capability of your nonprofit organization needs only advanced insight, which you can find among the experienced faculty in an online program.

Learn about the LSUS online MS in Nonprofit Administration program.


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