What motivates people to be charitable? By: Russell Clark

Date Added: June 30, 2008 11:13:16 AM

One of the great mysteries of human nature, is why some people can spend a lifetime accumulating massive wealth (often, but not always, by exploiting the under privileged) and then give it all away to charities. Sometimes they even create their own charitable trust, which they manage like a business, for giving away their money. Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation, would be good examples of this.

This article will explore this issue to try to understand what motivates people to donate so generously to charity.

Let me start on the skeptical side. There are some people who take the view that the main motivation behind charitable activities is self interest. The benefactor could, for example, want to impress be business colleagues with his "generosity" in order to win more business

Or he could be after a tax break – see charitable-tax-deductions.com for more on this. Or maybe it’s a "karma thing". He feels by giving to the poor, he then has the right to seek even more wealth.

I think that there might be some truth in these views, but really don’t believe the skeptics when they say that there is an ulterior motive behind all generous charitable donations. They are negating one important factor: as human beings we have an enormous propensity to simply "do good". Giving charity is certainly creates a great feeling of self enlightenment. Charity, in all its varieties, gives a great deal of joy and mental peace to all the parties involved - the giver gets a great deal of satisfaction from giving for a noble or a cause dear to their heart.

People are also greatly concerned with social responsibility. By making a contribution to something which they believe in, these people feel that, even in a small way, they are making a difference. The notion of leaving the world in a better place than how you found it, does carry a lot of appeal.

Russell Clark owns and operates the website Charitable-Tax-Deductions.com

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