Polls / June 9, 2015

Which is your preferred way to give money to charity?

Respondents to the eZonomics online poll are split on their preferred way to give money to charity. The most common answer is regularly from their pay, followed by sponsoring friends’ fundraising and disaster relief campaigns.

I donate without thinking
eZonomics asked a similar poll question last year – but gave answer categories relating to donating cash, time and participating in events.
This poll focuses more on the moment people prefer to give cash to charity. And a paper from the UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team (or “Nudge Unit”), may help explain some of the results.
Giving to charity regularly as part of a pay cycle reflects the research insight about the importance of “making it easy”.
After all, these types of automated donations are “set and forget” and harness the positive power of “doing nothing”.
The study also suggests introducing small, annual increases in donation size in line with inflation is a good idea to prevent the spending power being eroded over time.
Another positive of payroll giving is that some employers have a matching scheme that effectively rewards workers for their kindness and doubles the “feel good” factor.

You did, so I will
Supporting a friend who trains for months to run a race, climb a mountain or complete another charity fundraiser is a good feeling in itself.
In addition, it can be an effective technique for the fundraiser. This is because it taps into the idea of peer pressure – such as friends feeling encouraged to give because another already has.
Likewise, the Nudge Unit study found more employees were willing to give a day’s pay to charity after an email from the company CEO than after a generic email.
Using social media to make acts of giving more visible to others you know may also increase the positive peer pressure.

I like the warm glow
There are many reasons people give to charity – and this eZonomics slideshow lists one that many already know – giving to charity feels good.
It tells how academics call it the “warm glow” effect and detail that gifting boosts happiness.
Timing is also important. People are more likely to make a donation in December than January, according to the Nudge Unit paper.

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eZonomics team
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