According to their website, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. #GivingTuesday unofficialy kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. The day aims to bring people together from all over the world to celebrate generosity and to give.
Pretty neat idea, right? But can it actually spur people to donate? Will it spur people to donate?
Why do most people donate to charities or nonprofits? Many people cite connections to the organization or the founder, while others want to affect change. Some support nonprofits to foster a connection to other people, and others are attracted by tax benefits. Some will donate because it’s the cool, hip thing to do (ahem, #GivingTuesday) or because they want to be a leader or role model in a community. But for many people, the overarching reason to donate to nonprofits is because of the “warm glow.”
Yes, that’s an actual term, and no, it has nothing to do with hot toddies. A University of California, San Diego professor named James Andreoni coined the term in 1989 to reflect the personal pleasure people get from contributing to a good cause. Also known as, “impure altruism” because it involves self-interest (we feel good by supporting an or many organizations), this is the reason that many people cite for donating to nonprofits. Not only does it support something that we believe in, but it actually makes us feel good to share the wealth. Boom. Science.
The converse, of course, are the many reasons that people cite for not donating to nonprofits, and those are equally valid. The loudest one, however, is that many people feel that their gift is insignificant (similar to the “does my vote really count?” argument). As the Executive Director of a small nonprofit with a small operating budget, I will tell you that yes, every dollar matters. Every gift is important because it’s one more person showing their tangible support for our small, growing, life-changing nonprofit. Whether it’s helping us keep the lights on in the office, covering travel to help recruit and hire new educational actors, or compensating our director for the countless hours spent during training, every dollar makes a difference. At this time of this posting (Tuesday, November 24th), we’ve had 92 donors to date. That’s like 92 individual high fives, 92 times someone has said, “hey, I think what you’re doing is important,” 92 people who have supported grassroots change instead of buying more music online or another round of drinks, 92 separate donors who have raised thousands of dollars for more consent education and sexual assault prevention across the country and around the world.
If you donate $50 to one organization, will the “warm glow” be bigger than making 5 $10 donations to different charities, or 10 $5 donations? Is the “warm glow” dependent on the dollar amount or the number of organizations that you support? We aren’t sure, but we’re honored to be a part of your research.*
Social media tends to be a place where people can voice their opinions, frustrations, victories, sadnesses, and amazing meals. In the past few weeks, the internet has been rife with stories of conflict – both physical conflict, and also conflicts of opinions. If only for one day, let’s change how we use social media and celebrate our dedication to our communities: local, national, or global. Let’s use #GivingTuesday to show the massive generosity of the human spirit as we support nonprofit organizations by making meaningful year-end financial gifts. No dollar amount is too small to give as we continue to build our community. Your gift is your stamp of approval for the work that Speak About It has done, and for all of the work that we will do with your support.
*Can you really quantify the “warm glow?” We aren’t really sure, neither Shana nor Kaylee studied science. But we’re pretty sure that any amount of “warm glow” is better than none.