Polls / December 21, 2011

Are you more likely to donate to charity as the end of the year approaches?

About half – or 47% – of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll say they are not more likely to donate to charity as the end of the year approaches.

The “Sunday effect”
If the end of the year does not prompt more donations to charity for almost half of the respondents to this poll, what would? It seems the day of the week might play a role, with generosity peaking on Sundays according to research from Canadian and New Zealand academics. Study authors say they stumbled across the “Sunday effect” while conducting their experiments – and write that the average donation was 51% higher on Sundays compared to every other day of the week.
What other people do also may come into play. If we think others are making large donations, we tend to give more ourselves, according to research cited in the eZonomics article Sweet charity and a different study on Barking up the Wrong Tree. This interest in the actions of others taps into the behavioural economics idea of peer effects – or peer pressure. But it can be a good idea to base financial decisions on your own circumstances (and your own budget) rather than potentially overspending because of what others are doing.

A helping hand – for me and for you
Giving to others may help the donor as well as the recipient. Our four final tips for the festive season suggests giving a little as the year draws to a close, if budgets can accommodate it. It highlights is evidence that suggests helping others can produce a “warm glow” – in that people given cash feel better about spending it if they use it for others.
The sentiment echoes a well-known quote from talk show queen Oprah Winfrey that “every gift I’ve ever given has brought at least as much happiness to me as it has to the person I’ve given it to”.

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eZonomics team
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