Let me ask you a question (or four). Do you believe that what you give to others comes back to you? Do you believe in karma? Or maybe you are of the mindset that karma matters little compared to hard work and drive? Is there room for both?
Here is the reason why I ask. Today it was announced that research shows that people who receive higher bonuses are less likely to give to charity than those on lower earnings. The trend continued even when higher bonuses are distributed randomly.
“Our findings suggest that receiving higher pay due to good luck is not generating a stronger need to ‘give back to society’. This is probably because people instinctively attribute their high pay or bonuses to being a reward purely for their own skills and effort, even if there is actually an element of luck involved. As such, they feel entitled to the money.”
According to this data, there is not room for both. Gosh, this makes me sad.
Several months ago when I attended the Champions for Kids summit, a representative from the Walmart Corporation said that among their clientele, those in the regions that need the most are consistently the ones who give the most. It speaks to the root of human nature, doesn’t it? Those who have been there, who understand hardship, are the ones with the most empathy.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those in a position of giving back felt more of a desire to pay it forward?
And therein lies the dilemma. We cannot, nor should we discredit the power of success which comes as a result of determination and hard work. (Nor does this mean that all wealthy people feel entitled or that none of them feel compelled to pay it forward.) The dilemma lies in the ability to create a sense of empathy and community over entitlement.
When charitable organizations, crowdfunding projects, social good marketing efforts and the like look for donors, they should reconsider their approach. Instead of targeting high earners and disregarding low earners, they should look instead for those who can most relate to their cause. Additionally, when these organizations do go after the higher earners, they should consider the message. Telling the higher earners what is in it for them may be more effective than an attempt to garner donations with an empathy approach.
Here on this website my goal has always been to present man ways to give back, or to pay it forward, so to speak. What resonates most with one reader may not be what resonates most with someone else, so it is important to me to present a variety of causes and options.
So, tell me. What prompts you to give back?