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Americans donated a record-breaking $373 billion to charities in 2015. While this is certainly great news, it begs the question: what compelled people across the country to support philanthropic organizations and charities? Of course, many of the reasons are personal, but there are several common motivations for people to donate to charities. Take a look below at some of the most popular reasons that people give!

Making an Impact

One of the most basic reasons for giving is to make an impact in the world, or better yet, to an individual in need. In fact, research has indicated that people are more prone to make charitable donations when they can identify a clear, single beneficiary, which is why programs to sponsor a single child or animal are so popular. Additionally, since people are inspired by the idea that they are making a difference, sending donors consistent updates about the child, animal, or whatever beneficiary they sponsor can help to keep donors engaged—as well as ensure they continue to support your cause.


Former hospital patients and college graduates are more likely to donate to the organizations that supported them: hospitals and colleges, respectively. Why? Because they feel a sense of appreciation and gratitude that they want to repay. Appreciation can be a powerful motivation behind an individual’s decision to become a donor, whether that sense of appreciation stems from a direct impact an organization has had in their lives or simply respect for the good work that an organization does. Therefore, using a previous relationship—formers students or patients—can be a valuable method of developing highly committed donors.

Mission or Values

Charities and philanthropic organizations have missions, like goals that they want to achieve or issues that they hope to eradicate. Individuals also have missions as well, and that presents an opportunity for charities. By seeking out individuals who share the mission and values of the organization, charities can find people who feel invested in their cause and will be more likely to make a donation; for example, a nonprofit that takes care of animals might consider reaching out to veterinarians.

For more information about our philanthropy and the causes we support, visit our website!