Insights into philanthropy An investigation into motivations for UK charitable giving

PhD Thesis

Maple, P. (2021). Insights into philanthropy An investigation into motivations for UK charitable giving. PhD Thesis London South Bank University LSBU Business School
AuthorsMaple, P.
TypePhD Thesis

Almost £23 billion is given by individuals voluntarily to UK charities every year. This is hugely important for those organisations as it represents 43% of their total income and this percentage is increasing (Hornung et al., 2019). This thesis investigates why people decide to give money to charity, in order to develop an improved understanding of their underlying motivations and the dynamics of what prompts or triggers a gift. It will be of value anyone interested in changing the world by sustaining and enhancing individual donations of money to charity.
A literature review reveals knowledge gaps about why people develop into givers and what prompts them to change existing charitable allegiances or make new commitments. This research uses an interpretive, pragmatic approach to analyse the data from 46 in-depth interviews with philanthropists to gain improved insights into the underlying values, drivers and motivational triggers for charitable giving. There is evidence that many individuals acquire a giving habit at a very early age and that significant life experiences also impact giving behaviour. However, motivations are fluid and people change charity allegiances throughout their lives.
Furthermore, these changes continue into the charitable will making process that half of UK philanthropists may undertake.
The findings show that relationships often develop between givers and charity fundraisers. An important conclusion emerging from this evidence is that the nature of that relationship between the fundraiser and the giver may be very
significant in determining giving motivations and behaviour. A further conclusion is that giving motivations can be far more fluid than most theories allow, and a new, dynamic theory of giving is proposed.
This research has sampling and analytical limitations but nevertheless, offers new insights about the prompts that trigger movements in giving motivations. These are important factors for fundraising charities to use more effectively. The thesis provides an original contribution to the understanding of what motivates people to donate money and presents recommendations for practitioners, policy development and further research.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Print04 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Apr 2023
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