Good 360
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! 



FEATURED SUPPLIERS


NGO Recruitment is Australia’s not-for-profit sector recru...

NGO Recruitment

...


Yes we’re lawyers, but we do a lot more....

Moores

Helping the helpers fund their mission…...

FrontStream Pty Ltd (FrontStream AsiaPacific)

More Suppliers

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Charity Defends DGR Status as a Champion for Environment and Democracy

Rachel McFadden

Monday, 17th July 2017 at 5:13 pm

ACNC Commissioner Warns: Be Careful When Giving This EOFY

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 28th June 2017 at 1:51 pm

Australians Make Record Donations to Support Refugees

Rachel McFadden

Monday, 19th June 2017 at 3:50 pm

A Glance at Bernie Sanders’s Fundraising Secrets

Wendy Williams

Thursday, 1st June 2017 at 8:56 am

POPULAR

Red Cross Moves to Wage-Based Fundraising Model

Lina Caneva

Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 8:30 am

Concerns Raised Over New ACNC Board Appointments

Luke Michael

Monday, 20th November 2017 at 2:28 pm

New Same-Sex Marriage Bill Looks to Protect Faith-Based Charities

Luke Michael

Monday, 13th November 2017 at 5:25 pm

Adelaide at the Vanguard of Ending Street Homelessness Globally

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 21st November 2017 at 8:43 am

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 *


Good 360
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

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

You have Successfully Subscribed!