FEATURE2 December 2021

Charitable deeds: Experience and donations

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Data analytics Features Impact

Why do people give to charity? A recent study analysed the link between people living with cancer and those who donate money and time. By Katie McQuater.

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Cancer charity Macmillan had a hypothesis that one of the major underlying drivers of fundraising behaviour was the ‘give-get relationship’ – the notion that people who receive help and support, or see others receiving it, from the likes of Macmillan will then go on to donate, creating a self-fulfilling cycle.

This hypothesis prompted a research project with Boxclever that combined analytical modelling and qualitative research to explore the concept, and whether the charity’s work and awareness of it is a key factor in prompting donations.

In an initial ethnographic stage, researchers explored the idea of the ‘give-get relationship’ and helped to define it using in-depth sessions and interviews, initially with people living with cancer and their immediate families.

The qualitative team then sought out individuals in the social circle of those living with cancer – close friends and colleagues – to understand more about what they termed the ‘cancer network’ and investigate the experience of those who are one step ...