Charitable Giving: What influences donors' choice among different causes?

Michaela Neumayr, Femida Handy

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


While the literature is replete with studies that identify factors explaining why people are likely to make monetary contributions, less is known about which particular charitable causes they are likely to choose and how much they donate to them. This article examines donor choice among eight different causes using survey data collected in 2011 for a nationally representative sample in Austria. In particular, the study investigates the role of individual-level factors: subjective dispositions such as empathic concern, trust, and religiosity, and resources such as education and income. We find that subjective dispositions rather predict a donor’s incidence of giving among causes but not the amount donated. Human resources, in contrast, are associated with both the incidence and the amount donated to particular causes, and they also mediate the impact of subjective dispositions. What is more, the study reveals that being asked to donate has the highest explanatory power regarding the incidence of giving among all causes investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783 - 799
JournalVoluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502023 NPO research
  • 509012 Social policy

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