So for the past couple of days I’ve been spending my time in the bottom of a mucky quicksand of schoolwork that kept sucking me back in, but I managed to crawl out to share my ideas on what stands between people and philanthropy.
So here’s the thing: You gain more from giving than taking.
No, you read it right—I said you gain more from giving than taking. If you’ve ever done anything nice to anyone (assuming you’re not Satan), you’ll get what I mean; that ineffable sensation of content and spiritual satisfaction is what all philanthropists strive for. Of course, taking gives you something. It gives material good and tangible wealth, but is that really worth it? Studies show that one who spends money for others is substantially happier and much more satisfied with the use of his money than one who keeps it all for himself. Taking gives material goods, while giving gives spiritual satisfaction. Giving gives happiness to both the giver and the receiver, and it’s always a wonderful thing to brighten up another’s day. Really, it’s a sad thing to watch someone vacillate with a dollar bill in his hand, and to watch him walk away to spend it on material than to give to the poor.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t bought a cup of coffee or a t-shirt for a homeless man yet, you should. His smile that day will permanently be engraved in your heart, and it will motivate you for further acts of kindness. In fact, handing a dollar to an indigent will appease your heart and mind inimitably; it’s a much better use of money than filling your stomach with an ephemeral pack of skittles after all.
Alright, so that last part would have been a really good ending to wrap the journal up, but I’m not just talking about giving money to beggars here. To be honest, I was planning to end it there—until I went and did some research.
Philanthropy is comprised of a sundry of activities. Donations are one. Supporting a cause or promoting awareness is another. The simple idea is that although philanthropy is often easily accessible, people blame a dearth of time or a work overload to evade spending “valuable” money, time, and effort.
Sally Hibbert, a senior lecturer in marketing at Nottingham University’s Business School in Nottingham, England, adduced the theory of “neutralization” to elucidate why people conjure pretexts to justify their distance from altruism. Although most construe giving as a positive communal influence, others are reluctant to give because of ambivalence towards charities’ methods of fundraising and their dubious—but ostensible—rectitude. These matters are imperial to discussion and momentous for more efficacious donations to honest organizations.
Psychologists define neutralization as a pacifier for “the effects on self-esteem and relationships with others when they act different from expected [i.e., not giving].”
From the standpoint of a donor, psychologists connote five possibilities:
1. Denial of Responsibility: “I don’t have enough money to give to charity.”
2. Denial of Injury or Benefit: “My gift won’t make any difference.” Or “All the charity work done in Africa hasn’t made a difference, there are still millions who starve.”
3. Denial of Victim: “There is no need for anyone to be homeless. There are plenty of jobs around.”
4. Condemning the Condemners: “What right do pop stars have to ask us to give? They should give away some of their millions.
5. Appeal to Higher Loyalties: “My priority is to look after my family. Charity begins at home.
[Source: AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)]
Herbert asserts that the more people are exposed to such neutralizations, the more likely they will logically be to detach themselves from any future philanthropy. In order to preclude such ramifications, charities or organizations such as East Villagers need to direct their attention to the roots of the problem: that a preponderance of people is bluntly insouciant or reluctant towards altruism, and that such hesitancy arises from a bereft of attention in certain aspects of presentation. Most specifically, I think we need to address the denial of Injury or Benefit as soon as possible.
Many are discouraged by the thought that a small donation will be too insubstantial to contribute to any remarkable change or difference. However, we can never stress too much about the importance of any amount of donation, for the couple coins or dollar bills that one donates may alter an entire life for the better. Currently, philanthropic advertisements revolve around informing the public about the good of giving. This is all fine and good, except we need to provide some evidence as well. We need to show the community not only how our organization fosters the poor and benefits lives of many, but also how individual donations impact other lives significantly. Videos and photos of philanthropic work and interviews with people whose lives have been improved (among many others) are examples of ways we could promote our work more piquantly.
So I’ve been thinking: this study—produced by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organizations (NCVO)—regarding neutralization may help to change the way people view philanthropy. Despite the countless number of philanthropists out there, a majority is stuck in a mixture of misconceptions and sophisms towards altruism, and this definitely needs to be fixed.
So give giving a chance.
We really need your help.
Article by Ricky Shin