Last Word: September 2022

We know that people give for many reasons. The motivations are many and varied and are not mutually exclusive, nor should there be any judgment on people’s reasons for giving, as they all have the same end result of benefitting organisations and causes, which could not thrive without philanthropic support. We also know that giving is not simply about money, but can be in other forms, be it giving our time, goods, and services, like the Arkaba who are donating a venue for free for our Grants’ Night, and it can also be our connections and our voices to causes.

Firstly, and at a very basic level, many people give simply because it makes them feel good. Scientific studies have proven that generosity stimulates dopamine, which is the feel-good chemical in our body. These people do not expect any acknowledgment or reward for their giving. At another level, there are those who want to help charitable causes and know they can meet some great people and have a good time at the same time. These people are wonderful to have to support your organisation, as they multiply their giving by encouraging their friends and network to support causes.

There are those who give because they want to do good work and be part of a community and want to make it a better place to give. These are the communitarians. There are also some who give because of religious principles. They have been educated to believe that it is an obligation to share their wealth. There are also altruistic individuals who give, for no recognition or reward, even if it is a “dopamine” reward, but simply because they feel it is the right thing to do.

There are some donors who appreciate that supporting charities can make good business sense from a public relations, staff morale, and tax perspective, to their company or own income. It is great that the Government recognises the important role philanthropy plays in a thriving community sector. There are also many donors, who have inherited wealth or have grown up with the money, and have been socialised by their families to support non-profits and community organisations. It is so wonderful to know that their dinner-time conversations are often about addressing fairness and equity and supporting worthwhile causes.

Finally, there are those that say they donate to “pay it forward”, having received the benefit, for example, of medical care or an educational scholarship, which has greatly changed the trajectory of their lives. These people give, not for a reward but, out of a sense of gratitude, and often seek to give anonymously. Albert Einstein is credited as saying “ It is every person’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they have taken out of it.”

While we understand that there are some that might want to give anonymously, especially when giving money, please know that if you really want to help us to help our charitable sector, you can multiply your impact by first giving and then telling others around you, why and to whom you give, which influences others to give, especially those who are from socially, economically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Furthermore, anonymous donors do not receive notifications of how their gift is used and in the case of Impact100 SA, anonymous donors will not be invited nor able to vote at our events.

No matter your motivation for giving, please know that all giving is valued and valuable and we hope that you will continue to give what you can, when you can, and where you can.