10 reasons people don’t donate money

Don't donate

While giving to charity is a great way to use your money to improve the world around you, it’s not something we all do. Here is why you might choose to not give their money to charity.

Charitable giving is something many of us do with our money. Whether it’s tax benefits, a way to give back to society or building a legacy, there are many reasons you might choose give money to charity, which we’ve discussed here.

However, the reality is that not everyone does give to charity. Rather than judge people for not giving to charity, we want to show reasons why someone might decide not to donate to better understand this decision, whether it is made actively or passively.

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

1. You can’t afford to donate

A key reason that people don’t donate is because they feel like they can’t afford to. If you’re struggling on a student budget, it can be easy to think that you just don’t have the money to give away. If you’re in this position, I’d recommend putting yourself on a budget to see much money you really have and where it’s currently going as well as looking at other ways you can give to charity.

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 and at times a commission based on the money they collect, taking money away from the charity itself. I actively choose not to donate to those that employ people who stand on the street to hijack those going about their business and would recommend you do the same.

3. Guilt trips do not drive you to donate

You shouldn’t ever be made to feel guilty as the driver behind a decision to donate. You may live a charmed life but a passion for making a difference for a cause will solidify a commitment to donate more so than any guilt trip could. Some charities target the elderly for donations via a phone campaign and actively guilt them into parting with their pension. Any charity capable of this behaviour is not one I would ever donate to. It’s also much safer to look up a specific charity and donate to this charity via its certified website than over an unsecure phone line.

4. You don’t trust the organisation

Trust is fast becoming a currency in a modern world. In the past, before sources could be verified online, we did deals based on an individual or organisation’s credibility in the community. Trust is incredibly important and if you don’t know anything about an organisation, you’re unlikely to trust them with your money. It’s definitely important to look into and research an organisation before you donate to them so that you can build up that trust with them before you donate.

5. You don’t know how your donation goes

You’re unlikely to give money to a cause if you can’t see its impact. The large CEO salaries of major charities as well as the misuse of charity funding by some of its workers while they’re in the field which has been reported in the press makes it difficult to be confident about where your donation actually goes. The way I got around this was to go for charities I knew and that I could see the day to day impact of so that I had a better idea of where my donation went.

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

When you can only afford to make a small donation, it’s easy to feel like your donation will be a drop in the ocean compared to what the charity needs. And this makes it easy to keep your hand in your pocket and not donate at all because you feel like it won’t make a difference. Instead, remember that if every Australian donated as little as a $1, you’d raise $25 million overnight. Even a small amount of money from many hands adds up.

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 affect whereby, we assume others will help so we don’t jump in and help ourselves. If we all do this however, none of us would 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 like it’s unfair

It can be hard to commit 10% of your income to charity when we see millionaires not donating and spending the money on bigger houses instead. The scenario feels unfair and we’re less likely to donate knowing that others who have more are not doing their bit. Giving circles or community fundraising are a way of overcoming this feeling as we can openly see others in our neighbourhood giving to a cause, making it more likely that we will also donate.

9. You’re feel overwhelmed by the need for donations

If you look at the extend of global poverty and social need, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the demand for support. Your efforts can seem futile and its difficult to know which cause is most deserving of your donation. This futility thinking can be overcome by remembering the words of The Dalai Lama: If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. You may be only able to focus on one charity but it will still make a difference to that particular cause. Your donation is still worth it.

10. You feel like you’re being judged by others

This was a key reason I found it difficult to initially start giving. Effective altruism advocates can among the worst when it comes to judging the donations of others. They measure how much your donation is worth and make a judgement about where it should go based on a calculation. While you are welcome to listen to effective altruism advocates, you do not need to listen to their judgement of your choices. Instead, find a cause you are passionate about and give to it in the way you feel will be most effective.

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

You may have core reasons for not giving to charity including those listed about. There are a number of benefits associated with giving so it’s worth finding alternative ways to give your money or time to a charity or cause you believe in and want to see change on.

Read more: 10 reasons you should donate money

Kate Crowhurst

Written by Kate Crowhurst

Why donate

10 reasons you should donate money

How to donate

5 ways that you can give money to charity