Students Staff

10 February 2010

Researchers look for help in understanding why we give

Colchester Campus

Whether it’s the Haiti earthquake, sponsoring a grandparent in Africa or supporting a Brownie troupe, many of us give to charity. But researchers at the University of Essex want to know more about what precisely motivates us to make a donation or support a cause, and they are hoping that local charities might be interested to help them find out more.

Economist, Dr David Reinstein, who has already carried out wide-ranging research in this area, is appealing for charitable groups and other organisations in Essex who may be planning a fundraising campaign in the near future, to take part in an experiment that would help his research and ultimately help them get a better understanding of who gives what, why they give and when they give.

He explained: ‘In the UK we give millions of pounds to a wide range of international, national, regional and local charities and organisations every year, but we don’t have a very good understanding about the ‘science’ behind it. The findings from this research could be of interest not just to economists like me, but to charities and fundraising bodies everywhere.’

Dr Reinstein is hoping to work with a group, charity or other organisation that is in the process of planning a fundraising campaign. He would then help them set up an experiment to tie in with their campaign so that the results are as realistic as possible.

He added: 'It would be excellent to work with a local group that sees how useful it might be to have a better understanding of these issues.'

Any charity interested in finding out more can email him at the University on

...more news releases