Seven motivations for giving
In our fast-pace world, it can be hard to slow down and think about the needs of others. However, it is important as community members and parents that we take time to teach our youth the importance of giving.
When we think about giving, we think about our money and our time. There are many opportunities to give in our communities, whether it is our time through organizations like Little League or 4-H, or giving money to organizations like churches or community foundations. However you give, there are lots of ways to do it. But what motivates people to give?
Understanding what motivates people can help community members and parents recruit resources to support programs as they grow and develop, increasing their impact on the community. According to the book The Seven Faces of Philanthropy by Russ Prince and Karen File, there are seven motivations for giving. Let’s explore those motivations:
- Doing good makes sense. People give because of their sense of belonging to a social community.
- Doing good is God’s will. Religious faith is a strong motivator for giving.
- Doing good is fun. People enjoy being social together while raising money as some activities include entertainment and fun.
- Doing good feels right. People with this motivation tend to focus on a social cause that provides them with a sense of purpose or personal fulfillment.
- Doing good is good business. These givers are investors who are motivated by personal tax benefits and the benefit of improving their images with positive public relations.
- Doing good in return. Some people do good in return for what they have received in life and/or to express gratitude for the good things that have happened to them.
- Doing good is a family tradition. Some families feel that giving is part of a family tradition and pass this important lesson on from generation to generation.
No matter which reason motivates you, giving back to the community is important as it will help our communities grow strong and healthy. By teaching youth the life skill of giving, it will help create future leaders in our communities and develop advocates for making things better. Slow down and find places that need your time or money and teach young children how to make a difference.
For parents, teachers and community members looking for ideas about how teach youth about giving, the Learning to Give website is a great resource. The lessons on this site can be incorporated as part of family activities, 4-H clubs, or other organizations. To learn more about how you can give to your community, contact the Michigan State University Extension office in your county.