Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) from ‘Parks and Recreation’ loves giving presents.
Donating to a charity in a loved one’s name seems like the perfect gift.
You feel warm and fuzzy about your money going towards good in the world and a charity receives some much-needed financial aid… but does the person on the receiving end really love it as much as you (and the organisation) do? What the recipient won’t say to your face is: they really just wanted a new mug for their office cubicle, thanks.
Thanks to new research, we have an official verdict on the charity donation as Christmas gift: sadly, it isn’t guaranteed to thrill the recipient.
In a recent episode of the PsychCrunch podcast, Dr Christian Jarrett conducted an interview with a professor who is researching socially responsible gifts. In Professor Lisa Cavanaugh’s 2015 study, gift-givers were asked to choose between two gifts that they would actually give to others.
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While both gifts were coffee-themed, there was one big difference: the level of social responsibility. One gift was a travel coffee flask, while the other was an Oxfam donation to support fair-trade coffee workers.
The findings confirmed what we all know, but are too embarrassed to admit. When the study participants gave the gift of a charity donation to an acquaintance, Cavanaugh explained that the recipients “really did not appreciate the gifts to the same extent that gift givers believed they would.”
Oh dear. Could it be that deep down, we humans are… kind of selfish?