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Scholars look at motivations of people who don’t give

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Some people neglect to give because they assume someone else will take care of it, while others are waiting for a nonprofit to help them get involved, a new publication says.

The pamphlet, “Charitable Giving and Donor Motivations,” was published by the Economic & Social Research Council in Swindon, England, and summarizes giving theories proposed by two experts.

The first theory, proposed by Sally Hibbert of the University of Nottingham, suggests that non-donors rationalize their behavior by creating reasons not to give, such as assuming older or wealthier people are giving enough, or that it is the responsibility of the government.

These people may also assume that the small amount they can afford to give would not be enough to make a substantial difference, Hibbert says.

However, Tom Farsides of the University of Sussex says the fault lies with the charities, which he says are not doing enough to involve potential donors.

Rather than giving donors concrete goods in exchange for their donations or time, he suggests that charities should appeal to potential donors’ desires to help by providing ways for them to deepen their involvement with the charity.

“Most people want to help others, and charities might do well to offer them that opportunity – and present it as such,” Farsides says.

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