Why do philanthropists give?

The following data has been extracted from the Giving Australia 2016 Philanthropy and philanthropists report. The full report is available for free download.

Reasons for giving echoed those found in Giving Australia 2005, where the key themes of altruism, reciprocity and living in accordance with personal values emerged as important factors in motivating giving. In Giving Australia 2016, the most frequently cited reasons for giving were:

  • to make a difference
  • to give back to the community
  • for personal satisfaction
  • to align action with moral or philosophical beliefs
  • to set an example
  • to support family or friends linked with a cause, and
  • to maintain family history and values.

Individuals and foundation/trust representatives participating in this research consistently emphasised the importance of being able to make a difference with their giving.

For individuals, a sense of social reciprocity and the desire to give back to the community that supported them was a widely shared motivator for giving.

Philanthropists commonly valued the sense of personal satisfaction and fulfilment that is part of their process of giving.

For some, their underlying philosophical beliefs are a strong motivator for giving, as ‘the right thing to do’.

Some participants want to set an example, to role model the values and behaviours of giving, both for their families and for their peers.

Philanthropists are often motivated to give to specific organisations or causes where there is a personal, social connection.

For many, giving is something that they continue on as a natural extension of the values and behaviours modelled and passed down through the family; ‘it’s what we do’.

Common motivators for survey respondents using a structured giving vehicle include:

  • to be more strategic in giving
  • to make a difference
  • to help organise giving, and
  • to involve family in giving.

Several themes recurred throughout focus groups, interviews and the Philanthropy and philanthropists survey about key influences on philanthropic giving. Giving is influenced by:

  • perceived capacity to give (whether time, money or skills) by individuals
  • valuing giving (believing that giving is worthwhile and the right thing to do)
  • social networks (both personal such as family and peers, and professional, such as advisers)
  • ease and accessibility of giving (barriers may not prevent giving, but can discourage it), and
  • having a positive impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *