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Why People Donate Money to Charity

Why People Donate Money to Charity

Posted on September 11, 2019
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“We make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give.”- Winston Churchill

Americans gave $427.71 billion to charity in 2018! And, the good news is that giving is on a rise globally. This is a positive sign for society.

Most individuals and corporates are associating with charities in some way or the other. This could be by donating funds or donating their time and efforts to the charity.

But have you ever wondered what are the motivations for giving to charity? Is there a science behind why people donate to charity?

This question has caught the interest of various behavioral scientists who have researched to analyze what goes on in the mind of the donor when he donates.

Thought processes which motivate donors to give:


Altruists are donors who donate because they derive a sense of satisfaction by just giving. These donors like to donate to the needy or for any cause that they feel passionately about. Altruist donors are not worried about the process of giving but care only about the benefit their donation provides.

Warm Glow

These are donors who derive pleasure by giving. These donors donate without actually caring if their donations make a difference. This differs from altruistic giving where the donor is actually concerned about the wellbeing of the recipient.

Social Status

The third category of donors is those who donate because it enhances their social status. These donors donate because they want to be considered rich by their peers.

What exactly are the reasons to donate to charity?

1. Donating to Charities Makes the Individual Feel Good

Research has proved that Giving makes the donor feel good. The act of donating in any way gives a sense of fulfillment to the individual. This is because the act of giving increases activity in the area of the brain that registers pleasure.

2. Giving Helps combat Depression

It is an established fact that any act of charity, whether it is donating time or money is a mood booster. The donor feels a sense of satisfaction by donating and this releases dopamine It is said that “Giving is more satisfying than receiving.”

3. Empathy

Empathetic giving is when the donor empathizes with the individual in need and donates. When empathy drives donations, the individual will donate without caring about what he stands to gain or lose from the donation.

4. Giving Strengthens Personal Values

A survey of donors revealed that many donors are driven by their conscience. They feel they are obliged to give back to society for all that they have received. This seems to a deep-seated personal value in such individuals. Acting on the powerful feelings of the ability to improve the lives of others reinforces the ethical values of donors.

5. Tax Benefits

Donating to many 501c3 charities in the USA offers donors tax benefits. Many individuals who were earlier worried about tax implications of donating can now donate without the fear of having to pay taxes for the amount they donate.

Donations to 501c3 charities are tax-deductible expenses and they reduce the taxable income and reduce the tax bill.

6. Giving is Contagious

When people see others in their social circle or among their family members donating, they get inspired to donate. And, once they experience the fulfillment from donating, they are likely to repeat giving. This is affirmed by the fact that more donors are donating on a monthly frequency than ever before.

7. Giving has become Easy

Giving has become easier than ever before because donors now have the facility to donate online. They can choose a charity through websites or social media and most charities allow donations through a simple click.

8. Awareness about Issues has Increased

Thanks to the Internet, the world has become a smaller place. Today people are aware of any issue affecting any part of the world. They now have the facility to choose the cause they are passionate about and donate at their convenience.

9. To Help the Needy

Simply put people donate is to help someone who is in need. They feel they can make a difference with their donations to help those who are lacking.

10. Reinvigorate Life

Donating to charities can make your life more meaningful. This is because participating in charitable donations offers you an opportunity to interact with like-minded people. When you work closely with people who feel the same way about a certain cause, it can be an uplifting experience for you. It can help you forget about your stresses and network with more people.

11. Inculcates the Values of Giving in Children

Children learn more from observation than from being told what to do and what not. Therefore if children observe their parents involved in regular acts of charity, they are likely to imbibe these values from their parents from a young age.

12. Improves Money Management

If you start giving regularly, you can set aside a certain sum that you want to donate. This will streamline your money management because you will tend to monitor your expenses to ensure that you don’t fall back on your donations.

13. Social Media

Social Media is one big factor that has impacted giving. Social networks not only help create awareness but also motivate peer to peer giving. This is because when people see their peers donating through social media channels, they are inspired to donate.

Although not exhaustive, these are some of the reasons why people make donations to charity. However, many people hold back from donating to charities due to the fear that their contribution may be too little. No contribution is small when it comes to charity. After all, it is “little drops that fill the ocean!”

Read: Giving Trends for Nonprofits in 2019


Donating for a cause is a motivation that comes from within. Nobody can be forced to give. Whatever the reason for donating, the will to give is personal. The benefits of giving are multiple. Giving not only helps those in need but also brings a sense of fulfillment to the individual donating.

If you are looking to associate to a charity, iConnectX offers you a platform to donate to a charity of your choice!