Why give

This is not commentary on why I think giving is important, how giving can greatly impact an organization, or the psychological benefits of giving… This is simply a piece on the reasons why I give from the most practical of places.

I’ve been doing some thinking into the reason why I give—
• to my alma mater—Kenyon College;
• to HRC—The Human Rights Campaign;
• to ARC Ohio—AIDS Resource Center Ohio;
• …well, to the many organizations which I give.
I’ve come to a simple conclusion around my giving (and maybe that of others)—

I give for two simple reasons:

Someone close to me asked me to give (reactive)
This is a complicated because I don’t give to just any organization to which a friend asks. I weigh the benefits of my giving, the connection (or importance this organization may have in my life or others whom I know) I have to the organization, and the level of closeness I have with the person who has asked me to give.

It is a cause in which I believe (proactive)
I am more inclined to give freely to an organization when it is a cause in which I deeply believe or can see how giving will have a direct impact on my life—now or in the future. Giving to my alma mater or giving to a cause associated with LGBT equality speaks to me because these are organizations and causes central to my personal experiences.

I believe that many people start out as reactive givers and transition to proactive givers—the kind of givers who understand the importance of giving and sustain their gifts or find new outlets where they can give.

Economists have many theories for why people give to charity; and the reality is that there are many theories on giving, not just from economics but from other social science disciplines as well.

Why do you think you give?