Giving to Feel Good: Exploring the Psychology Underlying Charitable Giving

Why do people give to charities? Is it the tax break, the satisfaction of helping others, or perhaps a combination of factors? The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Elizabeth Svoboda called “Hard-Wired for Giving,” adopted from her new book What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness (Aug. 31/ Sept. 1, 2013 WSJ Review). With nary a mention of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), the author instead focuses on how the human brain is apparently built for generosity.  Fascinating stuff.


Many states’ charitable solicitation statutes require charities to include mandatory disclosure.

The good news is that the majority of states do not currently require these often verbose disclosure statements be included on a nonprofit’s solicitation materials.  Further, other states merely require the charity to include the name and address of the organization, which presumably would occur anyway. And some states require disclosure statements only if a “professional solicitor” is used.

Americans Want Charitable Deductions Protected

A recent poll underscores the continuing support the American public has for sustaining deductions for charitable contributions. The study, reported in the March 1, 2013 Non-Profit Times, found that 75 percent of those polled valued deductions for charitable contributions, with 61 percent indicating strong support.  Furthermore, support for the continuing deductions was broad-based, spanning all geographic areas, and a wide range of socio-economic groups.