The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches To The Study of Charity

Kenny Jahng —  2011/03/23 — 1 Comment

I was excited at what showed up in my mailbox today.  Psychology Press sent me a copy of The Science of Giving which I’ve been wanted to read ever since I first heard about what Daniel Oppenheimer and Christopher Olivola have assembled in this text.

Why am I interested in this book? Because raising money so important to any ministry, cause-related or non-profit organization.

Learning why people give, how people give, when people give, etc is critical to fundraising success — especially since success in fund raising has no direct connection in the actual efficiency or urgency of need that the organization is focused upon.

Here’s one important difference between this book’s content and what’s out there already on the topic:

Our understanding of charitable giving is based primarily upon the intuitions of fundraisers or correlational data which cannot establish causal relationships. By contrast, the chapters in this book study charity using experimental methods in which the variables of interest are experimentally manipulated. As a result, it becomes possible to identify the causal factors that underlie giving, and to design effective intervention programs that can help increase the likelihood and amount that people contribute to a cause.

In 2007, charities raised over $300 BILLION.  But the two editors think that if attention was paid to the science of the giving process and action, they could do much much much better.  Worthy causes need to pay attention to some of the learnings found in this preliminary text on the matter.

As I go through this book’s 14 studies you’ll be hearing more from me about what jumps out at me and some of what I’m learning about the science behind the decision making process of giving. . .

The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology Press; 1 edition (October 21, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1848728859
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848728851
  • Top 100 book in Amazon’s Philanthropy & Charity category
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