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Giving is always good. But I believe it should really be great. One of my pet peeves is the grocery store check-out prompt that asks me to give. I could “Give $1 for veterans today.” The alternative to pressing “yes” and donating a dollar or two or five, is living with the guilt tax. But in that momentary transaction, the truth is we have no clear idea what the initiative is, and where the money will actually go.

Here’s the proof that it’s not just me: current research shows that 35% of people who give a dollar or two in response to the prompt find it annoying, and they give just because they feel guilty. Is this successful fundraising? Data might suggest it is, but I say no. The emotional connection we have to causes and campaigns is key. My two cents:  a cringe-y guilt reflex is not the kind of meaningful connection that builds a relationship of generous giving over time.

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