SPI Working Paper Series





WP #: 119

Date: Dec 2014


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SPI Funded Paper

Deconstructing Giving: Donor Types and How They Give

    Lata Gangadharan, Phillip J. Grossman, Kristy Jones

    Monash University
    Monash University
    Monash University


Abstract:
We examine the extent to which individual donors are warm-glow or altruistic givers and whether this distinction motivates giving decisions, particularly paternalism. Results from our experiment suggest that motivations for giving are heterogeneous, ranging from pure altruism to impure altruism to pure warm glow. Of 115 donors, in our setting 30 are purely altruistic givers, 36 are impure givers and up to 17 could be considered pure warm-glow givers. We find that donors are predominantly paternalistic, however the extent of paternalism depends on the donor’s motivations for giving, with pure warm-glow givers significantly less likely to be paternalistic.


SPI Quick Look:
We examine the extent to which individual donors are warm‑glow or altruistic givers and whether this distinction motivates giving decisions, particularly paternalism. We find that motivations for giving are heterogeneous, ranging from pure altruism to impure altruism to pure warm glow. Donors are predominantly paternalistic, however the extent of paternalism depends on the donor’s motivations for giving, with pure warm-glow givers significantly less likely to be paternalistic. Effective charities need to take into consideration the different motivations of donors and tailor their fundraising appropriately; as a one-size fits all approach is likely to be unsuccessful. It may be more productive for fundraisers to combine strategies that utilize reputation (e.g. pride or shame) with those that stimulate altruism (e.g. through empathy) in order to motivate different types of donors.