How technology is changing our attitude to giving

Technology is not only changing how we spend our money, it’s also changing our attitude to money, and interestingly, our attitude towards giving our money away.

When I say giving our money away, I don’t mean simply just chucking it away, I’m talking about donations and how payment technology, coupled with social media in particular has led to a powerful new social experience. When you consider that under 50s are the fastest growing donation demographic, the earliest adopters of smartphone technology, and the biggest evangelists of social media platforms, this makes for a very interesting formula.

Read: Will social media messages soon replace bank transfers?

Remember the Ice Bucket challenge? I bet you do. However, I bet you don’t necessarily remember the charity and issue that gave birth to the social media fad that meant we were being challenged by, and challenging our friends to get cold and wet, and give money away in the process. For four weeks straight I couldn’t escape watching Ice Bucket Challenge videos as they were all over my social media accounts. The Ice Bucket Challenge dominated Facebook, Twitter & Instagram feeds globally and raised millions towards tackling the issue of ALS.

How about the no make-up selfie challenge? I don’t particularly remember this one, but my wife does. The challenge resonated with her and even though she had no idea what social issue it was linked to at first, she completed the challenge because she was nominated by friends to do so. It was only after doing the challenge that she realised it was linked to a deeper and more rooted social issue.

Read: Will the death of the invoice lead to more ethical business?

Charitable giving is no longer necessarily about just doing the right thing and donating, suddenly it’s become about making sure all of your social peers know that you’re doing the right thing, and that you’re on trend. Now, I’m not saying that people don’t donate regardless, but suddenly if there is social recognition, and fun, that can be gained from donating money, then it attracts many more people to do it.

Alongside this, the process of giving is contagious, not just the fact that when we see our friends do it we feel compelled to do the same, but a chemical reaction takes place in our bodies once we feel we have given and added value to a cause or issue. Giving stimulates our endorphins and releases oxytocin, which in turns makes us feel happier. 

And if giving can make us happy, why wouldn’t we want to do it?

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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