On Giving

The non-profit sector is the heart of a liberal society

Dear reader

Donate blood. Donate organs. Donate time. And the clas­sic: donate money. Just like that. Tax-exempt. For a good cause. Whether you’re rich or poor. Each person gives to precis­ely those causes that they perso­nally believe to be important. Dona­ting is an act of both soli­da­rity and liberality. 

We donate to help alle­viate poverty and to protect the envi­ron­ment. One dona­tion lite­rally saves lives, another saves the village theatre. Eighty per cent of all house­holds spend an average of 400 Swiss francs per year on chari­ta­ble dona­ti­ons. Dona­ti­ons are made even by those who don’t have much. Phil­an­thro­pic enga­ge­ment has a profound impact on our society. It takes the load where no one else carries it. 

Why are we even gene­rous? The reasons for dona­ting are complex. We give and are gene­rous – partly out of soli­da­rity and empa­thy, partly out of compas­sion. And some­ti­mes, we’re driven by a guilty consci­ence or even social pres­sure. But is it more selfish incen­ti­ves like social reco­gni­tion that make us give more? 

Current dona­tion levels show that dona­ti­ons in France are incre­asingly focus­sed on projects that ‘help those in need’. The distri­bu­tion of dona­ti­ons is stable here in Switz­er­land, where we prima­rily give to orga­ni­sa­ti­ons working for nature conser­va­tion, envi­ron­men­tal protec­tion and animal welfare, people with disa­bi­li­ties, and social and emer­gency aid. Trust in the orga­ni­sa­tion coll­ec­ting the dona­ti­ons is crucial to our willing­ness to donate. Trans­pa­rency about how dona­ti­ons are used demons­tra­bly increa­ses people’s willing­ness to donate, as does perso­nal commu­ni­ca­tion, inclu­ding via digi­tal chan­nels. Ulti­m­ately, dona­ti­ons are always a message from people to people, because a gene­rous world is a better world. 

Be inspi­red by this thought-provo­king issue of the Philanthropist. And maybe it’ll make you consider dona­ting, too. 

The Philanthropist team

StiftungSchweiz is committed to enabling a modern philanthropy that unites and excites people and has maximum impact with minimal time and effort.

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