Rich people found to be more charitable if given a sense of control

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A pair of researchers, one with Harvard Business School, the other with the University of British Columbia, found that when soliciting donations from wealthy people, it pays to offer them a sense of control. In their paper published on the open access site PLOS ONE, Ashley Whillans and Elizabeth Dunn describe their study, which involved sending donation request letters to wealthy alumni.

The researchers began their study by noting that has found that people tend to respond more positively to agentic self-concepts than they do to more generalized themes. To that end, they designed and carried out a study to test the idea as it applied to .

The study consisted of composing and then sending letters to 12,000 Ivy League alumni who earn at least $100,000 annually. Those targeted held positions in public corporations, which meant their income was verifiable. The researchers wrote two versions of their letter, both of which were geared toward asking for a donation to help with community action activities. But the phrasing was different. One letter was written in such a way as to give the reader a feeling of control—"Sometimes, one person needs to come forward and take individual action." The other was written in a more general sense: "Sometimes, a community needs to come forward to support a common goal."

The researchers then compared how much individuals donated. They found that those who had received the letters offering more control were more generous—they gave on average $432. Those sent the more general , on the other hand, gave on average just $270. The difference came to an average of 1.5 times as much.

The researchers suggest that the difference consisted simply of giving prospective donors a feeling of more control over how the donated money would be spent. They further suggest that their findings indicate that in the future, those conducting charity drives might gear their requests in ways that offer some degree of to prospective donors. They might find they get more in return.


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More information: Ashley V. Whillans et al. Agentic appeals increase charitable giving in an affluent sample of donors, PLOS ONE (2018). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208392
Journal information: PLoS ONE

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Dec 28, 2018
Since the primary concern for the rich in anything they do is making themselves richer, of course charity is just a business move for them. Tax write-offs, deductions, favoring charities that operate using equipment and supplies produced by the rich person's factories, not sending money to organizations that work in countries that won't give the rich person the kind of cooperation they want in opening factories there. No wonder they want control. Dispense to those the rich decide deserve it and withhold it from those who can't make the rich richer.
And count on "science" to facilitate the corrupt rich in saying "everybody does it". Like Ayn Rand's depraved "reasoning" that, if someone does anything, it's because it "pleases them" to do so, which means greed is at the heart of everything!

Dec 28, 2018
".....favoring charities that operate using equipment and supplies produced by the rich person's factories, ,,,,,"

'Yea Julian all of those damn rich people building hospitals so that their aspirin factories do well must stop. We must require that the government fund everything.

Dec 29, 2018
Dispense to those the rich decide deserve it and withhold it from those who can't make the rich richer
Oh you mean like how religions all give charity only to believers and potential converts?

"4 Give to religious people, but don't help sinners. 5 Do good to humble people, but don't give anything to those who are not devout. Don't give them food, or they will use your kindness against you. Every good thing you do for such people will bring you twice as much trouble in return." Sirach12

"Zakat can not be given to non-Muslims. It can be given to eight kinds of needy."

-Perhaps this is why the largest charities are all secular.

Dec 29, 2018
Like Ayn Rand's depraved "reasoning" that, if someone does anything, it's because it "pleases them" to do so, which means greed is at the heart of everything!
This ones obvious...religionists seeks to please god so he will make good on his promises; immortality, wish-granting, retribution, absolution, membership in the tribe. IOW everything you could ever want in return.

And taking can be as useful to god as giving, like when the hebrews took the holy land and the crusaders took it again.

This sort of selfish greed is much more powerful than worldly goods. And it's why religions dont give to people who have nothing to give in return.

Dec 29, 2018
Ghost, you are full of pure unadulterated crap. Christians donate to people without expecting anything in return all the time. I know. I'm one of them.

The article was about rich people donating, remember? Basically, all that boils down to is the fact that the average rich person has so much ego they think they can control everything around. They can't, but if you bullshit them into thinking they can they will donate more.

Dec 29, 2018
After reading the preceding comments? I have a sick compulsion to say something nice about the plutocraps.

Damn! That's annoying!

Consider if any of you were in the position to distribute a sizable fortune? I know, fairieland!

Would you,honestly? Trust any bureaucrats to distribute the charity you have to bestow? Whether those bureaucrats are government or corporate? Religious or secular? Academic or entrepreneurial?

A common theme of bitterness I see in these comments? Is disappointment that tax dollars are spent on [ ... fill ... in ... here ... ].
Even when the disparaged research project was not publicly funded.

Keeping in mind, you would be blamed for anything, everything, that goes wrong. You get the publicity, the public perception, for good & for bad.

In addition to the people who blame you for having a fortune to give away. Especially when you failed to give it, to them!

After all that? Poor people give more to charity than anyone else.

Dec 29, 2018
Rich people found to be more charitable if given a sense of control...

Knowing how to MAKE them do it gives some one ELSE a sense of control...

Dec 29, 2018
Duh. It is like asking how much the Queen thinks the serfs deserve for their work vs basing it of what the worker actually does without regard to what the Queen's prefrence is.

Essentially, rich people want scarcity to cause people to submit to them for access to resources they need for survival.

Due to the rich's need to control and deny, it is even more important that they do not have control...because rich people will definitely not want everyone to eat food or have shelter.

Narcissists want other's to need their charity. Rich people don't even earn their wealth. They hire other's to do it for them.

Dec 30, 2018
Ghost, you are full of pure unadulterated crap. Christians donate to people without expecting anything in return all the time. I know. I'm one of them
Goood for you. Hey when was the last time you gave to the muslim family with all the kids down the street? How about your church? And when has the local mosque ever given to poor catholics?

I know you guys are under a lot of scrutiny lately and so tend to go out of your way to be all ecumenical, and prove you dont REALLY follow all that ignorant bigotry to be found in your books.

But it's still there. And we hear it repeated from your pulpits and your televangelists when they quote the book and tell you you are really the GOOD ones.

But we're not fooled. It's called sanctimony. And it smells.

Xians - they'll insist on doing you a favor even if it kills the both of you. Especially on the highway.

Dec 30, 2018
Your favorite passage:

"16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jon3

The one that really matters and the one you here from your deliverers:

"17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." Jon3

-IOW unbelievers cant be good or honest or decent or trustworthy. Period.

Dec 30, 2018
The article was about rich people donating, remember? Basically, all that boils down to is the fact that the average rich person has so much ego
Richest evangelists:
10. Joyce Meyer $8M
9. T.D. Jakes $18M
8. Franklin Graham $25M
7. Rick Warren $25M
6. Billy Graham (PBUH) $25M
5. Creflo Dollar $27M
4. Joel Osteen $40M
3. Benny Hinn $60M
2. Pat Robertson $100M
1. Kenneth Copeland $300M

-Note I didnt include the parsonage. Or the private jets, the vacation homes, the expense accounts, or the multibillion$$ organizations their crime families support.

Did I mention crime families?

"The Catholic Church is the largest and topmost Christian organization which has an estimated wealth more than $30 billion"

-Probably low from all accounts but impossible to know. Perhaps a good RICO prosecution would give a more dependable number.

Dec 30, 2018
well, a good start, otto.
Left out the saudi crime family & their control of the wahhabi cult. In addition to their emulation of the genghis khan's clans exchanging wives with half of Asia.

& then we could delve into the fortunes of Big & Little Wheel buddhist cults!

Who says accounting forensics has to be boring?

Dec 31, 2018
"Since the primary concern for the rich in anything they do is making themselves richer, of course charity is just a business move for them. Tax write-offs, deductions" ....

Julian, that is nothing more than hate speech. If you knew anything at all about those of us who are "rich", or even the tax code, you would know that a deduction is not the same as a tax credit. I don't pay taxes on the income that I donate. It still costs me about half of what i donate.

Secondly, if all we cared about is making ourselves richer, then why even do the study, because your claim is that we would never give in the first place.

Here is my perspective, and I speak for myself, nobody else.

I selectively give money to charities that do work I believe in. I donate to my church; a local shelter for battered women; veteran support organizations; St. Jude's; and some that help underprivileged children in Texas.

Dec 31, 2018
depraved "reasoning" that, if someone does anything, it's because it "pleases them" to do so, which means greed is at the heart of everything!


Do you cry when you give out to charity?

There's a famous zen story about a teacher who was collecting money to build a school. A wealthy merchant came in with a donation of 500 ryo. This was at a time when a peasant could live for a year on 5 ryo. The teacher simply said, "All right. I will take it.".

The merchant was baffled, and said, "That is 500 ryo in that chest."

"Do you want me to thank you for it?" asked the teacher.

"You ought to," replied the merchant.

"Why should I?" inquired the teacher. "The giver should be thankful."

Jan 01, 2019
Oh Zen Master... SNAP!

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