In research on philanthropy, much attention has been given to the impact of the actual economic costs of giving. This paper argues that the perceived psychological costs of giving should also be taken into consideration when seeking to understand donations to charitable organizations. It is already known that people differ in their attitudes towards money, and that money attitudes are mostly independent from income, but these findings have been largely overlooked in the study of philanthropy and altruism. This paper seeks to rectify that omission by investigating the relationship between charitable giving and money perceptions. The analyses show that, regardless of the actual financial resources held by a donor, the size of their donations is negatively affected by feelings of retention (a careful approach to money) and inadequacy (people who worry about their financial situation). We conclude that an understanding of money perceptions is an additional important factor in the understanding of charitable behaviour. Fundraising professionals should not only select potential donors based on their absolute financial capacities but also take the potential donor's own financial perceptions into account when asking for donations.

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International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing
Department of Sociology

Wiepking, P., & Breeze, B. (2012). Feeling poor, acting stingy: the effect of money perceptions on charitable giving. International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing, 17(1), 13–24. doi:10.1002/nvsm.415