Sara Konrath and Femida Handy summarize their recent research in a piece prepared for "The Conversation," a website that provides general access to scholarly research on a wide range of topics. They report that a survey in the United States of a non-representative sample of donors confirms that people give to charity because of "TASTE." Donors
- Trust the organization to use the funds effectively.
- Hold values of Altruism.
- Derive Social benefits, such as helping a loved one.
- Receive something back, specifically Tax breaks.
- Feel good or look good, supporting their own Ego.
And surprise (?), people are not likely to give when they feel they do not have enough money to meet their own needs.
Their acronym TASTE can help a charity think about how it asks people to give. Demonstrate why your organization has earned their trust. Appeal to people's sense that giving is a positive thing to do for their community (altruism, social benefits) and themselves (egoism and tax benefits).
Sara and Femida note much more research is needed to delve more deeply into whether these five motives apply generally to the U.S. population and whether the motives are similar for people in other cultures and countries.
In another research direction, I wonder how these interact for any one gift. I might give $25 to look good to a friend who asks, but I will give substantially more when I care about the mission of an organization, trust it to use my funds wisely, and benefit from the services myself or know that they benefit someone I care about deeply.