Why Do People Give?

Now That is An Interesting Question

It really isn’t critical that I know why people give – I just find it curious and thought-provoking. Why do people give? In my journey to uphold the mission of Arbor Acres, I find it rewarding to learn more about the donors here and what makes the mission so vibrant and real.  For me the experience of hearing someone’s story and connection to this community is the beauty of my role.  It feels small to reach out my hand and take a check without looking into the eyes of the beholder and understanding how this money travelled to me.  The eyes and faces of each donor are different and the category to which they belong is sacred and sweet.

The National Philanthropic Trust reports Americans gave $335.17 billion to charity in 2013 (statistics are not complete yet for 2014), revealing 95.4% of households participating.   Lucky are we; lucky more is the mission of Arbor Acres established more than 35 years ago.

Studies have shown that philanthropy has seven faces.    And a person can fall into one category or several, depending on the day and the cause.

Communitarians – Doing good makes sense.

This group of individuals comprises about 26% of the pie chart.  These are the folks that either live in or depend on the community for which the cause exists.   They put their money where their footing is, and are proud to be a part of the whole.  These people have a civic responsibility, support each other, are clearly accountable and serve the community.

Devout Givers – Doing good is God’s will.

This is the second largest group of funders to a particular cause.  This segment comprises about 21% of the pie chart.  Devout givers believe their gifts are part of God’s will, and they give devotedly, repeatedly and freely in support of God and His honor.  Call them disciples or call them prophets, they want to insure their cause is funded.  These people are on a mission and have a sense of purpose.

Investors – Doing good is good business.

Investors tend to be a little more pragmatic in their reasons for contributing to a cause.  They consider themselves forward-thinking and ahead of the game.  These people comprise about 15% of the pie chart.  They believe in investing in the future, because they can see themselves forever involved in the cause. These people are efficient, effective, well-managed and are born leaders.

Socialite – Doing good is fun!

Believe it or not, this group is well-intended in spite of the name.    The socialites are devoted to the cause – and want to have fun while they are giving!  They comprise nearly 11% of the pie chart, and can throw the best parties of the year.  Although people think they spend profits on fundraising events, they often give large amounts of their own money as well as donate time, props, entertainment and smiles in honor of their passion – and they succeed royally in calling in favors from their friends and family.  These people are the best community volunteers and are usually leaders in the community.

Repayer – Doing good in return.

Talk about an IOU.   Repayers comprise about 10% of the pie chart and their indebtedness is clearly felt.  This group has a story and is proud to share it, any time they are asked.    A personal experience, a loved one who benefited, an awe-inspiring “event” – no matter the reason, they will be faithful in their giving and support.  These people are socially responsible and are do-gooders.

Altruist – Doing good feels right.

Perhaps the most soulful of those who give, altruists comprise 9% of the pie chart.  When asked, they will tell you “it just feels right” and their funding of a cause is purely emotional.   They are delighted to recount their devotion, and will usually shed tears when describing their reasons.   The altruists are actively involved in helping with developmental administration as well. Self-actualization best describes this group of givers.

Dynast – Doing good is a family tradition.

Thank heavens for legacy….and royalty….and family.   Comprising 8% of the pie chart, this group should not be confused with the repayer or the communitarian.  They give because their great-great-great grandfather before them gave…and it is important to carry on those wishes.   This is a selfless group.  They do it out of respect for their elders and family, whether they believe in the cause or not.

Arbor Acres depends on your gifts.  We believe in your personal constitutions and are here to shepherd your philanthropic wishes.   I am here every day, all day just waiting to hear your story, listen to your connection and support you in your philanthropic journeys.  I look forward to seeing more of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *