A Student of History

August 23, 2008

Money, but not their time

Filed under: Simple Living,The world today — John Maass @ 7:40 pm

I find this Yahoo News article interesting, and it confirms my experience with many people and family members I know, myself excluded.  ”

“When asked to volunteer their time to charity, Americans are likely to give more money,” the column reports. In one major student that asked folks to donate their time, it turns out guilt may be a factor also: “Participants in an online survey read a statement about lung cancer and a cancer research foundation‘s mission. The participants who were asked to donate time eventually pledged more than those who weren’t asked.”  A second trial also found this result: In the second test, “the same researchers introduced undergraduate college students to HopeLab, a nonprofit organization that serves children with chronic illnesses. The average donation level was nearly five times higher for participants who were first asked about donating their time to the organization.”

Now to be sure, lots of organizations need time from people and their money.  Groups that need to lobby need cash to pay their lobbyists, buy advertisements, create publicity, etc.  Some causes are by their very nature set up to take money for their causes rather than time: what can I do to find the cure for cancer, for example, other than donating money to fund current research? 

On the flip side, I have more than a few times offered to donate my time when I did not have any money, but have been rebuffed repeatedly.  The example here is my undergrad alma mater, W&L, which really just wants a check, and could care less about my willingness to actually do something for them. 

Nevertheless, having been involved with charities (esp. through church) I also would have to state that people don’t want to be bothered with others, despite Christ’s frequent call for us to do acts of charity or “good works,” and strive to assuage their guilt by forking over cash instead.

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