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10 reasons people don’t donate money

10 reasons people don’t donate money, with Money Bites
We ask why people don’t donate money.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Giving money to charity is something many of us choose to do.
  • However, it’s not a choice that everyone can afford to make.
  • Here’s 10 reasons why people don’t donate money so that we better understand this perspective.


Many people choose to give money to charity.

There are many reasons why you should donate money, including tax benefits and giving back to the community you live in. You may choose to give money to build a legacy and have a positive impact beyond your own lifetime.


However, the reality is that not everyone does give to charity. 

This can lead to people judging others for how they use their money. However, there’s several reasons people don’t donate money, and we want to show reasons why people may choose to put their money elsewhere.


Not in a charitable mood.


Here’s 10 reasons people don’t donate money: 


1. You can’t afford to donate

A key reason people don’t donate is because they feel like they can’t afford to. There are many different ways you can give money to charity, including giving your time and skills if you’re operating on a tight budget but still want to contribute to causes. 


2. You’re put off by pushy behaviour

An annoying feature on the high street is the irritating person with a clipboard getting in your face until you pay them to go away. This kind of street hawker behaviour is utilised by some charities and these street hawkers also earn a wage. Charities previously justified it by saying that 90% of donors are acquired by face-to-face activity. However, many people now see this predatory behaviour for what it is and personally, I don’t donate money to charities that employ these pushy tactics. 


3. Guilt trips do not drive you to donate

You shouldn’t ever be made to feel guilty about your decision to donate. Some charities target the elderly for donations via a phone campaign. During times of crisis including major disasters, scammers will often try to take advantage of your generosity by impersonating charities. Beware of the guilt trip as their intentions may not be genuine. 


4. You don’t trust the organisation

Trust is fast becoming a currency in the modern world. If you don’t know anything about an organisation, you’re unlikely to trust them with your money. This caution can be useful as it’s important to research an organisation and a charity’s effectiveness before you donate to them. 


5. You don’t know where your donation goes

You’re unlikely to give money to a cause if you can’t see its impact. Movements like effective altruism have championed the idea that some organisations and causes deliver more value than others. If charities aren’t transparent in showing where your donations go, you’re unlikely to part with your money. 


6. You feel like your donation won’t make a difference

When you can only afford to make a small donation, it feels like it won’t make a difference. We see the scale of the problem charities are working on and assume that our relatively small contributes won’t deliver charities what they need. 


7. You assume someone else will do it

We often assume that those around us will donate so we don’t need to. Think of this as the bystander effect whereby, we assume others will help so we don’t jump in and help ourselves. However, if we all did this, none of us would ever donate. Instead do the opposite and visibly donate because the act of donating is contagious and will start a trend of giving among your friends and family. 


8. You feel it’s unfair

It can be hard to commit 10% of your income to charity when we see millionaires with more money than us not donating. Giving circles or collective giving is a way of overcoming this feeling as we can join with others in our community by donating to a cause. 


9. You feel overwhelmed

If you look at the extend of global poverty, it can feel overwhelming to know what charity to donate to. Seeing the sheer scale of the problem can freeze you into not donating at all. If this is you, perhaps reflect on the words of the Dalai Lama: If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito


10. You feel like you’re being judged

This was a key reason I found it difficult to start giving. Effective altruism advocates can be the worst when it comes to judging the donations of others. Their donating calculations can lead to them not recommending guide dog charities for donations, despite a need for guide dog funding. Listen to them but ultimately, the decision of who you give money to and how you give it is yours alone. 


Ultimately, the decision to donate your money is a deeply personal one.

No one should judge you for what you do with your money, including whether you choose to donate. It’s worth taking some initial steps towards money management before you start donating and ensuring that your donations go to a charity you really care about.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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