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Each year during the holiday season, soup kitchens and charities alike are flooded with offers to volunteer. But is a donation of your time most beneficial to the charity, or would a financial contribution provide more value?
Researchers from Portland State University and Texas A&M University wondered what drives volunteering—especially when a monetary donation would have more impact. Their study, "Why Do People Volunteer? An Experimental Analysis of Preferences for Time Donations," was published in this spring in the journal Management Science.
People - Choice - Williams - Glow - Effect
Why do people make that choice? Williams said the "warm glow" effect appears to be responsible. Warm glow is described simply as the positive feeling associated with volunteering or donating to charity.
"If you have really high wages, why would you give up a few hundred dollars an hour, when you could just work an hour and donate that amount and then provide significantly more value than your time would be worth to the charity?" Williams said.
Past - Research - Choice - Worth - Someone
Past research assumes, he added, that when given the choice between donating $10 worth of someone's time and $10, the options are equivalent. Their research proves otherwise.
"The warm glow you get from volunteering appears to be significantly higher than that of giving money. And that went against what a lot of the field believed," Williams said.
Findings - Studies - Conversations - Gifts - Time
Their findings should inform future economic studies and conversations considering gifts of time...
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