What Motivates People to Give to Charity?

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As you plan your fundraiser, silent auction or special event, your goal is to bring in necessary money to meet your goals. Whether that is a new basketball hoop for your child’s elementary school, uniforms for the drill team or to replace the curriculum books for your church, one of the key ways to motivate people to give is to understand exactly why they give. What motivates someone to take their hard-earned money and give it to charity rather than spending it on something flashy for themselves? There are both practical and emotional reasons, and understanding them can ensure that you approach fundraising the right way.

Two Motivations for Giving

Academic research suggests that there are two types of motivation for giving: internal and external. For most people, it is a mix of the two that motivate them to help another.

Examples of internal rewards for giving include:

  • Religious beliefs
  • Warm glow that comes from helping another
  • Desire to be part of improving the world around them

Examples of external rewards for giving include:

  • Tax deductions
  • Recognition
  • Social pressure

While tax deductions and recognition are important parts of motivating others to give, the research suggest that most people give because of an internal motivator. Understanding this concept can help any organization as they approach community members for donations.

As you search for donations or offerings for your fundraiser, you can take the motivations and turn them into practical ways to approach donors for money, goods or services. This can also help you motivate people to come to an event or fundraiser if you know how to approach it correctly.

Four Ways to Get Donations

The old method of going door to door and asking for money or goods simply doesn’t work anymore. Organizers must be creative and use online tools such as Elefundo to make it easy for people to give. If it is easy for someone to give, they are more likely to do it. If it is awkward and uncomfortable, you may find they avoid you altogether.

  • Show them the impact they will be making – Express exactly what you plan to do with the money, and how their donation will help you achieve that goal. Make them feel as if they are an intricate part of meeting your goals.
  • Show appreciation for any donation, large or small – Many people give out of the goodness of their hearts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want a simple thank you. You can’t go overboard with appreciating someone for giving to your cause.
  • Define your mission and share it – If you come across a donor that is passionate about the things you are raising money for, they are more likely to give. Design a mission statement for your fundraiser and share it with those you ask for donations.
  • Explain the tax benefits – Most donations to charity are beneficial to the donor when it comes time to file taxes each April. Don’t be afraid to use this as a selling point as you are asking for donations.

Ask you look for potential donors to give you goods or to come to your event, always sell them on the benefits they get from giving. Remember to take an external and internal approach each time. Show them how they will be helping an organization to give them the warm fuzzy feelings, but the practical benefit of a tax write-off is also appealing. Once you have nailed down the right way to ask, the giving becomes easy.