Why Are Charitable Donors Charitable?

07/11/2013

CharityMany philanthropic advisers stress that giving is not always this black and white: people need to get the emotional reward of giving first, but having a way to measure what those dollars do will sustain their giving.

You might say the "head" versus the "heart" is an age-old dynamic and dilemma. This is true whether in literature, art, or – yes – charity.

The head vs. the heart, as it occurs in charitable planning, was the topic of a recent article in The New York Times titled "Two Paths for Charitable Giving: From the Head or From the Heart."

The key question posed by the author: "Is it better to give in response to an emotional need or feeling, or are dollars better spent when tied to a metric that measures how effective they are?"

So, do you give charitably simply because it feels good and perhaps has a positive impact to which you can personally relate based on your own life and experience? Alternatively, do you give with a focus on doing the most measurable good with the assets gifted?

For many donors, giving is a matter of "and" – it is a matter of the head and the heart. The original article is worth reading, especially if you want to have a better understanding of the motivations behind generosity.

For more information, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: The New York Times (June 28, 2013) "Two Paths for Charitable Giving: From the Head or From the Heart"