Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$50 to feed a hungry child? Sure! $50 to feed ten hungry children? Nah!

In a story by NPR’s Alix Spiegel on Thanksgiving weekend, Alix said people are inspired to make a contribution when shown a photo of a single hungry child; but when they’re given statistics about lots of hungry children, they don’t choose to give. And when they’re shown a photo of a single hungry child that’s accompanied by statistics, they also don’t choose to give. It’s the photo of the single person in need that makes people want to write a check. No statistics, please.

Later, Alix’s story reported that when asked to give to a cause – say, women’s breast cancer – the majority of us don’t give. But many among that non-giving majority WILL give if they’re told that they have to commit to running a 5K race in order to be included on the donor list. What’s up with that?

About the first example above, I’m more likely to give to a single stranger with an obvious need than I am to give the same amount in response to a report with stats about how many people share that need. The amount I’d give is more likely actually to make a difference to one identifiable person than it would for a bunch of people. But wait, stupid – in giving to help many, my money would, of course, still help that one.

As for the second example, yoga or running marathons have no appeal for me, but when I’m asked to give in response to, “Send us a donation to a cause that you know is important, or we’ll invite you to a black tie reception that lasts until midnight at a fancy hotel”, it’s, ”Gimme my checkbook! How much do you want?”

Here’s a link to that NPR story, told by Guy Raz, with information that Development Directors should be attentive to – and that might make the rest of us ask ourselves, “Exactly what does motivate me to give?”


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Generous Geeks at Philanthropy Week

Hopefully, most of you know it's Philanthropy Week here in the lowcountry.  As part of the celebration, active Palmetto Technology Hub (PATH) volunteers and some nonprofits got together for a lunch at our office today.   (You can see them displaying some of the swag we received from Google!).

Although PATH regularly holds free trainings and the occasional lunch for everyone involved in PATH, this was for the die-hard volunteers that have gone above and beyond.

What I love about these geeks is the time they've spent supporting PATH this year.  It absolutely blows my mind.  Nonprofits have saved hundreds of dollars in tech support costs, so that money is instead used to meet their core mission.  We have volunteers who have driven out to nonprofit offices for on-site hardware support and others who have built some beautiful websites.   (PATH even received volunteer support from a local graphic designer for the main logos and the boot camp logos!)  So, I have to say it again.  And again.  And again. Thanks geeks for all you do.  Techies in this community are the best ones around.