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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 14-Mar-08


Friday 14-March-08

Just giving, just getting

I've a couple of friends who are doing sterling stuff in the name of charity. It's an odd sponsorship proposition: 'Give money to charity and I'll put myself through some hardship'. There's an interesting website, JustGiving that helps this process along.

The process by which you get persuaded is interesting too. One friend who had put herself out to help me in the past sent a friendly, but ultimately begging letter asking me to sponsor her. Yes, I must, I thought, then moved on to the next email in the pie. The thought didn't go away, though, sitting guiltily in the back of my mind, so when she sent another friendly letter a few days later, I reacted like a scalded cat, diving for my credit card.

The question then arose about how much to give. Your name goes next to your donation, so there's little chance of a low donation. You could give an anonymous name, but you'd still feel like a rat. When we're not sure what to do we look at what others do, so, in a very British way, I picked a number that seemed reasonably generous without being ostentatious. And so I felt good, which is the real deal here. Give money to charity: feel good in exchange. Fair deal.

The next motivation is that I have now framed myself as a generous chap who helps these sorts of things, so when another friend asks for a similar sponsorship on JustGiving. I happily obliged. Now feeling like a thoroughly nice chap who supports his friends, I continued the Good Work by passing on the link to a network of friends and even put a link to both Hilary's and Andy's pages on my main website.

In studying persuasion, I am my own favourite subject. Rather than stubbornly resist persuasive efforts, I watch with interest how I feel and respond with each technique others used. Of course in the end I do decide if I want to go along or not, but I also sometimes do, especially if I can see a good reason. And I guess that's real persuasion for you..

Your comments

 The only form of charity is the one that springs from our inner need to help others or to share our good fortune with others. It is like a happy man sharing his sense of delight and contentment with others automatically without a plan. Charitable acts that are elicited from us playing upon our sense of guilt for being fortunate do not go a long way. They do end up pooling some money that may be used in a good cause, but this forced charity generally drive people away from it. Therefore, it is imperative that while actuating people on to charitable acts we appeal to their charitable spirit and use images and ideas that reveal the pleasant effects of charity instead of evoking images of disaster and suffering that create a sense of guilt. The suffering imagery is good for the news, but not for real and lasting motivation.

-- Shahzada S


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