The role of Corresponding Race, Gender, and Species as Incentives for Charitable Giving

(1) American School, Madrid, Spain

While most not-for-profit organizations (NFPOs) find it challenging to raise funds and generate public interest in their causes, NFPOs focused on the welfare of animals seem to face even less support from society. This idea motivated us to investigate what factors drive individuals to help someone or something. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that individuals support causes that are similar to themselves in terms of race, gender, and species. If this hypothesis were true, it could explain why animal-focused organizations have a harder time fundraising than organizations focused on helping humans. It would also have implications on how NFPOs should define target sponsor segments and efficiently use their resources in fundraising. Overall, we found that our participants favored causes that were closely associated with their race, gender, and species profile. We were able to statistically support the assertion that white Spanish subjects from Madrid overwhelmingly prefer charities aimed at white Spanish children instead of black African children. With respect to gender, our data overwhelmingly support the hypothesis that women prefer charities aimed at supporting a women’s health issue versus a men’s health issue. Our results with respect to men favoring men’s health issues versus women’s health issues were inconclusive. Finally, our data shows that overall, preferences for animal charities are lower than for charities supporting humans.

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psychology sociology economics