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Charitable Giving: What Influences Donors’ Choice Among Different Causes?

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Abstract

While the literature is replete with studies that identify factors explaining why people are likely to make monetary contributions, less is known about which particular charitable causes they are likely to choose and how much they donate to them. This article examines donor choice among eight different causes using survey data collected in 2011 for a nationally representative sample in Austria. In particular, the study investigates the role of individual-level factors: subjective dispositions such as empathic concern, trust, and religiosity, and resources such as education and income. We find that subjective dispositions rather predict a donor’s incidence of giving among causes but not the amount donated. Human resources, in contrast, are associated with both the incidence and the amount donated to particular causes, and they also mediate the impact of subjective dispositions. What is more, the study reveals that being asked to donate has the highest explanatory power regarding the incidence of giving among all causes investigated.

Résumé

Même si la littérature déborde d’études identifiant les facteurs qui poussent la population à faire des contributions monétaires, nous en savons moins sur les causes qu’elle a tendance à choisir et le montant de ses dons. Le présent article étudie les choix des donateurs de huit causes différentes grâce aux données d’un sondage effectué en 2011 auprès d’un échantillon représentatif de l’Autriche. L’étude examine plus particulièrement le rôle de facteurs individuels: les dispositions de nature subjective, dont l’empathie, la confiance et les croyances religieuses, et les ressources comme le niveau d’éducation et le revenu. Nous découvrons que ce sont les dispositions qui prédisent davantage le penchant d’un donateur pour une cause donnée et non le montant du don. À l’opposé, les ressources humaines sont associées à la fois avec le penchant pour une cause donnée et le montant du don, et elles modèrent également l’incidence des dispositions subjectives. Qui plus est, l’étude révèle que ce sont les demandes de dons qui ont la plus grande puissance descriptive sur le penchant des donateurs pour toutes les causes à l’examen.

Zusammenfassung

Während die Literatur reichlich über Studien verfügt, die Erklärungsfaktoren dafür liefern, warum Personen finanzielle Spenden leisten, ist weniger darüber bekannt, für welche wohltätigen Zwecke sie sich im Einzelnen entscheiden und wie viel sie dafür jeweils spenden. Dieser Beitrag untersucht die Entscheidung von Spendenden für acht verschiedene Spendenzwecke und stützt sich dabei auf Umfragedaten, die 2011 für eine landesweit repräsentative Stichprobe in Österreich erhoben wurden. Insbesondere untersucht die Studie die Rolle der Faktoren auf der individuellen Ebene: subjektive Dispositionen, wie Empathie, Vertrauen und Religiosität, und Ressourcen, wie Bildung und Einkommen. Man stellt fest, dass die subjektiven Dispositionen eher die Spendewahrscheinlichkeit für verschiedene Zwecke voraussagt, nicht jedoch die Höhe des Spendenbetrags. Die Ressourcen der Personen hingegen stehen sowohl mit der Wahrscheinlichkeit als auch mit dem Spendenbetrag für bestimmte Zwecke in Verbindung, und sie beeinflussen zudem die Auswirkung subjektiver Dispositionen. Darüber hinaus zeigt die Studie, dass eine Spendenbitte die größte Erklärungskraft für die Wahrscheinlichkeit einer Spende bei all den untersuchten Zwecken hat.

Resumen

Aunque el material publicado está repleto de estudios que identifican los factores que explican la probabilidad de que las personas realicen contribuciones monetarias, es menos conocido qué causas benéficas específicas es probable que escojan y cuánto donan a las mismas. El presente artículo examina la elección de los donantes entre ocho causas diferentes utilizando datos de encuesta recopilados en 2011 para una muestra representativa a nivel nacional en Austria. En particular, el estudio investiga el papel de los factores a nivel individual: inclinaciones subjetivas, tales como la preocupación empática, la confianza y la religiosidad, y los recursos, tales como la educación y los ingresos. Encontramos que las inclinaciones subjetivas predicen más bien la incidencia de un donante a la hora de dar entre diferentes causas pero no el importe donado. Los recursos humanos, en cambio, están asociados tanto a la incidencia como al importe donado a causas específicas, y también median en el impacto de las inclinaciones subjetivas. Además, el estudio revela que la petición de donar tiene el poder explicativo más alto con respecto a la incidencia de dar entre todas las causas investigadas.

摘要

旨在探究关于人们为什么倾向于以货币形式进行捐献的因素的各种文献为数不少,但是关于人们更倾向于选择具体哪些慈善事业、他们为这些慈善事业捐献了多少等问题,我们却知之甚少。本文利用2011年为奥地利全国性代表样本而收集的调查数据,对捐献者针对八种不同事业所做的选择进行了探究。本研究特别对个人层面上的因素所起的作用进行了调查:诸如共情关注(empathic concern)、信任与宗教信仰等之类的主观取向(subjective dispositions)以及诸如教育与收入之类的资源。我们发现,采用主观取向颇能预测捐献者为不同事业进行捐献的发生率(incidence),但却无法预测捐献者的捐献金额。相比而言,人力资源与捐献发生率以及对特定事业的捐献金额都相关联,且对主观取向的影响起着中和作用。此外,本研究还发现,在受探究的所有事业中,对于捐献发生率的高低,被请求给予捐献具有最强的解释力。

ملخص

في حين أن الأدب مليء بالدراسات التي تحدد العوامل التي تفسر لماذا من المحتمل أن يقدم الناس مساهمات نقدية ، قليل معروف عن السبب المحدد للأعمال الخيرية التي من المرجح أن يتم إختيارها ومقدار ما سوف يتم التبرع به لها. تفحص هذه المقالة إختيار الجهة المانحة بين ثمانية أسباب مختلفة بإستخدام بيانات إستطلاع الرأي التي تم جمعها في عام 2011 لعينة تمثل النمسا وطنيا”. على وجه الخصوص، تبحث الدراسة في دور العوامل على المستوى الفردي: التصرفات الغير موضوعية مثل الإهتمام الجاد، الثقة، التدين، والموارد مثل التعليم والدخل. نجد أن التصرفات الذاتية إلى حد ما تتوقع حدوث تبرع المانحين للإعطاء بين الأسباب ولكن ليس المبلغ المتبرع به. الموارد البشرية، في المقابل، ترتبط مع كل من حدوث التبرع والمبلغ المتبرع به لأسباب معينة، وأنها أيضا تتوسط تأثير التصرفات الذاتية. ما هو أكثر من ذلك، تكشف الدراسة أن من يطلب منه التبرع لديه أعلى قوة تفسيرية بشأن حدوث إعطاء بين جميع الأسباب التي تم فحصها.

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Notes

  1. Responses were factor analyzed; one-dimensional solutions emerged in both Generalized Trust and Empathic Concern.

  2. Empirically, there is evidence that giving might increase until people retire (this is at about 65 in Austria), but decreases afterward, at least for those who have low levels of income (Bekkers and Wiepking 2011).

  3. Multinomial regression analyses are not applicable because the research design allowed respondents to indicate giving to multiple causes.

  4. The Roman-Catholic denomination is the far most populous denomination in Austria.

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Acknowledgements

The data for this research came from the project ‘Private charitable giving in Austria,’ that was funded by the Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank.

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Correspondence to Michaela Neumayr.

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Neumayr, M., Handy, F. Charitable Giving: What Influences Donors’ Choice Among Different Causes?. Voluntas 30, 783–799 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-017-9843-3

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