Polls / April 2, 2013

Have you ever given to charity because someone you know has done so?

Respondents to this eZonomics poll were almost evenly split on whether they’d ever given to charity simply because someone they know had done so too.

Follow a friend
It can feel good to give money to charity – but research suggests there are additional factors that can influence whether we give cash away and how much we choose to donate. As the poll result shows, what friends do can influence our own choices. Related to the idea of peer pressure  – or peer effects – some studies suggest that when someone you know gives to charity, you may be more likely to do the same. Research on donations to a public radio station in the United States showed that donations increased 12% when potential donors were told others had been very generous and given US$300. In this case, “keeping up with the Joneses” appears to have increased the size of charitable gifting and the likelihood that donors would do so again in the future.

Wow – you’re so generous
Giving to charity is often a selfless act for the good of others. But sometimes we might like an ego boost too. So suggests research that examined donations that had to reach a certain amount to qualify for a certain tier status. The authors found a clustering of donations just over the tier thresholds.

Why o’ why?
Our eZonomics slideshow Why do we give to charity? lays out some more studies about giving to charity. Reasons include because it feels good – and the day of the week may even play a role.

EmotionTipsPeer effectsReminders

eZonomics team
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Have your say

Would you tell your partner about any money worries?