AHRI
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  Finance

Donors Too Emotional for Charts and Graphs – UK Economist


Thursday, 9th February 2012 at 10:27 am
Staff Reporter
Individual giving is often irrational and ruled by emotion and a charity’s ‘cost benefit calculations’ don’t lead to bigger donations, according to a leading UK economist.

Thursday, 9th February 2012
at 10:27 am
Staff Reporter


1 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Donors Too Emotional for Charts and Graphs – UK Economist
Thursday, 9th February 2012 at 10:27 am

Individual giving is often irrational and ruled by emotion and a charity’s ‘cost benefit calculations’ don’t lead to bigger donations, according to a leading UK economist.

Sir Howard Davies, former director of the London School of Economics, told a gathering of economists and charities that too much emphasis on charity “charts and graphs” can lead to donors being less likely to be generous.

Sir Howard delivered the the annual Pro Bono Economics 2012 lecture in London this week with the cheeky title of ‘Why do people give their money away and how can we stop them acting so irrationally?’

He warned that the fashionable emphasis on cost-benefit calculations may be, at best, a two-edged sword from a charity perspective.

He said: “Donors want to be inspired, moved and enthused, shown individual illustrations of the particular good they can do and never mind the size of the bucket”.

“Most of us have had quite enough rationality in our daily lives,” he said.

Sir Howard told the audience that from his own fundraising experience with the London School of Economics (LSE) he could see in retrospect that his intellectual approach triggered few large donations.

“At the LSE I could, and often did deliver a persuasive analysis of the School’s thin resource base in comparison with US competitors. I could point to the long-term decline in government funding and the overwhelming need to strengthen our sources of private funding.

“I had charts and graphs to prove every point. But in retrospect I can see that this intellectual approach triggered few large gifts.

“The personal stories told by students who could not otherwise attend the School at our scholars and donors events were far more compelling, as were individual academics who could enthuse a potential supporter about their own research project,” Sir Howard said.

“Giving behaviour is personal, and often quirky.”

A full transcript of Sir Howard Davies Pro Bono Economics 2012 lecture can be found here (PDF).
 

Want Pro Bono Australia News delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe now – it's free! 




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

One Comment

  • Jill Ruchel Jill Ruchel says:

    This is so true. Individual stories are far more persuasive than dollars and cents, although rational arguments play a role for those who pretend to themselves that giving is a rational decision. Giving comes first from the heart. It’s based in compassion and empathy.

Write a Reply or Comment

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



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

How Not for Profits Can Build Trust and Boost Donations

Andrew Cairns

Thursday, 5th July 2018 at 7:20 am

Australia Gets First Blockchain Charity

Wendy Williams

Wednesday, 4th July 2018 at 5:07 pm

Australians Committed to Helping Those in Need

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 19th June 2018 at 5:18 pm

Are You a Tax Time Donor?

Contributor

Tuesday, 5th June 2018 at 7:40 am

POPULAR

Man Battling Cancer and Centrelink Raises Social Media Storm

Paul Carter

Tuesday, 10th July 2018 at 12:42 pm

Shorten and Abbott Defend Catholics Against ACNC Probe

Luke Michael

Monday, 16th July 2018 at 4:25 pm

New Research Looks to Improve Disability Employment Rate

Luke Michael

Monday, 9th July 2018 at 2:35 pm

Study Suggests Cooperatives Could Hold Key to Fixing Housing Crisis

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 11th July 2018 at 3:08 pm

AHRI
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!