Why People Choose Not to Give

It’s difficult to imagine the kind of world we would live in if people never volunteered their time, money, or services in an effort to aide others. Without the generosity of those who give, many volunteer and nonprofit groups who help millions of lives each day would likely be unable to operate. As a nation, the total amount that we donated to charitable organizations in 2015 was $373.25 billion, up nearly 25 billion from the year before, and the number is steadily rising. More and more people are choosing every day to share some of their wealth with those who are less fortunate and struggling to make ends meet. While this is certainly amazing, there are still many people who choose not to help others through donating their time and money. Here are a few of the reasons why people choose not to give to charity.

  • They feel removed from the problem.

When people hear about a tragedy happening in another area or nation, while they likely feel pity over the tragedy, it’s less likely to affect them than a tragedy close to home would. As a species, we have evolved to care the most for those who are the closest to us, so when things happen in places we’ve never been to people we’ve never met, it’s more difficult to connect to the victims. Help people see how a devastating blow to any of us can be a devastating blow to all of us and get them involved in giving to others.

  • They don’t believe their donation will make a difference.

To the average, middle class American, parting with $10 doesn’t seem like all that much, just like it doesn’t seem $10 will be able to bring about any change. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. First and foremost, if every person who donated a small sum of money had chosen not to give, the dollars and cents lost would add up very quickly; there’s no such thing as ‘too small’ of a donation when all who donate to a particular cause are working towards the same goal. Second, the cost of necessities like food and water in areas of dire need are often far below our costs of living; for just $2 you can “provide 7 children with micronutrient fortification for 1 year” and for just $3 you can protect someone for 3-4 years from malaria.

  • They need their money for themselves.

To suggest that you should donate all or even most of the money you make to charity would be ill-advised and likely perpetuate poverty problems overtime. While you need enough money to be able to support and sustain a stable life for your family, try giving up a little so that you can give others a lot. Do you splurge every day on a high-priced coffee? Skip one day a week and donate that money instead. Find little ways that you can reduce what you use by just a little so you can help others by giving them a whole lot.