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People do a great job even without pay, as long as charities are getting the money

Posted June 12, 2019

Money motivates people. It is a huge driving force, making millions of people get up early in the morning, fight relentless traffic to appear at the door of the office they don’t even like. A possibility of a raise is even more motivating – everyone wants to earn more money. However, scientists from the University of Waterloo found something even more motivating – people do even a better job helping out their favourite charity.

Volunteers did a great job even knowing that they are not going to get paid. They gained enough motivation from knowing they are helping a charity. Image credit: Virginia State Parks staff via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

There are many ways to help out charities. One of the more popular ones is volunteer work. However, do people do a good job, knowing that they are not going to get paid? After all, we do go to work to earn money, right?

PledgeWork is a new online platform, allowing employers to post tasks for volunteers. These jobs may require a lot of skill or no skill at all. The main idea is that the money that would be paid for completed task is then donated to a charity, chosen either by the employer or the volunteer. In other words, people can donate their work, which is then translated into actual money, which benefits charities. For example, if you want to help an animal shelter, you don’t have to go and volunteer there – you can complete a task at home, at your own computer, and the money that would be paid to you will go directly to the charity.

There are many reasons to think that people would do this kind of job poorly. They want to help, but they aren’t even getting paid, right? However, scientists conducted a study, which involved 28 participants, and found that people did a better job when the money from their work would go to the United Nations rather than their own bank accounts. Part of it is, of course, a different source of motivation (self-fulfillment in helping others), but part of it could be because employers have to accept the completed task before transferring money to the charity.

This model of charity work is very efficient, because some people don’t really want to volunteer doing unqualified tasks, while others don’t have money for donations. Edward Lank, one of the authors of the study, said: “Many people do not have the money to give to their favourite cause and often perceive that they may not have the skills or time to give to a charity whose work matters to them. What a crowd-working tool seems to be able to do is overcome those barriers in a way that allows people to use their skills to benefit a charity anonymously”.

Creative ways of helping charities are great. They are interesting to people, attract more young volunteers and benefit a wider range of charities. Nowadays you have more options of how to help others and that’s great.


Source: University of Waterloo

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