The question of how donors decide which charities to support, as opposed to questions about whether to give and how much to give, has been under-researched. This article presents findings from a qualitative study of 60 committed donors in the United Kingdom and concludes that charitable decision making is primarily driven by donors’ tastes and personal background, and that inertia and path dependency also account for many of their current donation decisions. Despite subscribing to popular beliefs that charitable giving should be directed primarily to the needy, donors often support organisations that promote their own preferences, that help people with whom they feel some affinity and that support causes that relate to their own life experiences.
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