Charities, stop being selfish.

Tell me what’s in it for me.

Unsplash: Mady Roboson

Go to any bar, club, restaurant — anywhere social— what do you see?

I see people posing for social media.

I see people extremely invested in the idea of showing others what they’re doing.

I see people addicted to the gratification that comes from others.

What if I were to tell you that these human behaviors have the potential to stop world hunger and cure poverty?

Humans, more than ever, are self-interested and self-centered.

There’s a way, however, to re-purpose self interest while maintaining it to radically solve problems that non profits have been tackling for decades.

The key lies in the technologization and forward thinking of charities and non profits.

The Donor’s High

Studies performed by Dean Karlan of Yale University and Harvard University global health-economics professor Margaret McConnell confirm that the level of recognition a donor receives significantly impacts the amount and frequency of donations from that person.

Clarence Wardell III of TinyGive claims that when probed, donors will choose to share their cause with their entire Facebook sphere rather than personally share with one friend.

People love the positive recognition that comes from giving, but the archaic non profit sector has yet to make donating a socially shareable event — it is not integrated in their platforms.

Another study shows that charitable giving stimulates the same reward system in our brain that addictive stimulants such as nicotine and cocaine do.

Combine a neurologically addictive action of donating with our already existing addiction of bragging on social media and you unveil an intriguing phenomenon: the addiction to giving.

Unsplash: Christopher Campbell

How to Save Charities from Dying

Society has adopted a “what’s in it for me” mentality. Turns out, donating has a lot in it for all of us.

People want trade-offs for their time, money, and effort — non profits can fulfill these trade-offs.

As the older generation of donors dies off, non profits run the risk of seeing a rapidly declining pool of donors motivated solely by altruism.

Non profits will cease to exist if they neglect to adapt to society’s self driven motives.

Businesses cannot succeed without providing value for the consumer, this is true. But non profits differ from traditional businesses in that they are providing value for recipients in the form of service or aid while taking from donors without providing any concrete value in return.

No other business has the capacity to simply take money from one person and distribute it to others without creating some sort of value for the provider — this is what may be preventing non profits from reaching critical mass.

Rather than simply relying on good will, charities have the opportunity to exponentially grow their impact by providing donors with peer recognition and admiration which, confirmed by multiple studies, is what we seek most.

If non profits make social share-ability the norm — in other words, when posting about your recent donation is as commonplace as showing your Instagram feed the green smoothie you just drank — the potential for good is earth shattering.

Hit that green ❤ if you agree.