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Topical Resource Lists for Grantmakers

Why Donors Give: A Topical Resource List

The following resources discusses what motivates donors to contribute.

Bartling, Charles E. "The Psychology of Asking and Giving." Association Management vol. 51 (November 1999) p. 55-60, 149.
Discusses some of the basics of fundraising: why people give, the values that influence philanthropic giving, the difference between corporate and individual giving, the relationship between organization management and successful fundraising, the attraction of donors to solutions rather than need, and donor cultivation. Sidebars discuss key aspects of the ASAE Foundation's 1999 capital campaign.

Brown, Eleanor. "Married Couples' Charitable Giving: Who and Why." New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising vol. 50 (Winter 2005): p. 69-80.
Brown reviews recent research on the giving habits of married couples and discusses the growing influence that wives may have as they increase their earnings.

Boone, George N. "Why I Give: Confessions of a Committed Philanthropist." Advancing Philanthropy vol. 2 (Spring 1994) p. 23-8.
The president of the Boone Foundation, a family foundation in southern California, reflects on his adventures in giving.

Gaudiani, Claire L. "Thinking About the Why of Giving." New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising vol. 47 (Spring 2005) p. 5-11.
In this essay on the roots of American philanthropy, Gaudiani contrasts various traditions of giving, describing the conventions of generosity within different religious contexts. She predicts that American generosity will continue into the coming decades.
Hartsook, Robert F. "77 Reasons Why People Give." Fund Raising Management vol. 29 (December 1998) p. 18-9.

Mount, Joan. "Why Donors Give." Nonprofit Management & Leadership vol. 7 (Fall 1996) p. 3-14.
Examines the motives behind personal giving, how donors are different from non-donors, and why donors give the amounts they do. Also presents a general model consisting of five predictor variables of individual giving behaviors.

Schervish, Paul G. "Major Donors, Major Motives: The People and Purposes behind Major Gifts." New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising vol. 47 (Spring 2005) p. 59-87.
In this article Schervish presents several first-person accounts with wealthy major donors who explain how and why they have made specific commitments to charity. Based on the many years of his research, the author has created the “identification model of charitable giving” to explain donor behavior. Here, he explains the theory in detail.

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