From the Heart to the Checkbook
Daniel Oppenheimer is a psychologist at Princeton University and co-editor of the book, “The Science of Giving.” In some research he did for the book, he found that providing people information about a charity’s overhead costs makes them less likely to donate to it.
Here’s what is fascinating. This held true even if the information was positive and indicated that the charity was extremely efficient.
There is something else that’s curious. When people were given facts and statistics about a problem a charity was trying to address, they actually became less likely to donate.
The team found, for example, that the best approach for a charity raising money to feed hungry children was to simply show potential donors a photograph of a starving child and tell them her name and age.
Donors who are shown more contextual information about the famine, for instance, in Africa— probable donors who were essentially given more to think about— were less likely to give.
Oppenheimer says that this demonstrates that the emotional side is far more motivating in securing the gift than the cerebral. No surprise. We already knew this.
Go for the heart.