Why Isn’t Helping Easier?
I believe that humans are generally good. Generally we want the best for both ourselves and others, we all look up to heroes rather than villians, and if a favor is easy enough we often agree to it. So why don’t more people help each other? There are 3 major sticking points that block people from being generous with their time and money.
You can’t help if you don’t realize there’s a problem
IU associate professor Patrick Rooney believes that exposure to people in need is one of the biggest influences of whether or not people are generous. This view helps explain why the wealthiest 20% of Americans make charitable donations with about 1.3% of their income, while the bottom 20% give away about 3.2% of their earnings (from 2011). The poorer group has more exposure to people who are struggling and so they collectively give a higher percentage.
You go with what you know
People tend to give their money to organizations with which they are personally familiar. For example, most wealthy donors give money to things like museums and universities, whereas those in the lower income brackets give to social service organizations. Of course, this isn’t inherently a bad thing, but take a moment to think of all the charities you can name off the top of your head – how many did you get? 3? 5? 10? Of all the credible organizations to donate to, surely we’re only aware of a few. We could help more people by stepping out of our charity comfort zone. And what better way to do that then join the social media for charity? POINT levels the playing field as a hub filled with an array of cause categories and organizations to choose from, making it easier to find what you’re looking for even when you don’t know what it’s called.
The bystander effect is real
Everyone knows the bystander effect: why should I help if there are other people around that can do it? This occurs digitally too. People just go around “liking” things rather than helping.
There is an easy way to fix this, though. Highlight that people are actually helping – even, and especially, people we know. POINT aims to reduce the bystander effect of digital charity by keeping you updated with what people – your friends, role models and respected businesses – are doing to help others, which encourages more people to give their time and effort in return.