Public Survey: What Motivates Lithuanians to Donate Money to Charity?

A survey of donors’ behaviour commissioned by the portal showed that Lithuanians tend to do good works quietly, do not seek to receive a symbolic gift or other rewards for the donation. Lithuanians assess themselves as rational donors, for whom the financial accountability and honesty of the charity organisation are especially important; they donate to those social initiatives that they personally trust. One of the strongest motives for donation is the innocence of the beneficiary due to the difficult situation in which he/she found himself/herself.

“For the first time, we asked Lithuanian donors who and how motivates them to donate money to charity. Even though some of the answers received confirmed the knowledge accumulated during the decade of activity of the donation portal, however, there were also surprising discoveries. Lithuanians see themselves as very rational donors, for whom the goals and financial data of the organisation are very important, however, the action of donation is based on emotions. Lithuanians mostly donate by choosing a product, part of which is for support and in cash to donation boxes, and the most support is given to sick children and people in poverty – all this illustrates that Lithuanians first and foremost donate by heart”, says Giedrė Šopaitė-Šilinskienė, the head of portal.

On August 23 – September 4 UAB “Rinkos tyrimai centras” (Market Research Center) performed a representative survey commissioned by the portal. 802 respondents of different age groups who donated in money in the last 12 months participated in the research. The research methodology developed by consumer behaviour and marketing expert, VU lecturer Indrė Radavičienė, evaluated how different factors – the impact of the environment, characteristics of beneficiaries, trust in charitable organisations and their reputation, reward for the donation, personal benefit – motivate to donate.

Lithuanian donors do not want publicity or a symbolic gift

The research data revealed that Lithuanians are loyal to the attitude that good works should be done quietly. Even 65 percent of the respondents indicated they did not tell others that they had donated. Only 12 percent of research participants tend to share with others that they have donated. “The obtained results basically coincide with the data of the portal. Even 44 percent of donors – not only natural persons but also companies – choose to donate anonymously and do not want their name to be on the list of sponsors of the social initiative”, states G. Šopaitė-Šilinskienė.

A symbolic reward does not motivate Lithuanians to donate as well. Only 19 percent of the respondents indicated that they would donate more if they received symbolic commemoration, 18 percent – if they could win a ticket to a leisure event after the donation. However, twice as many donors (36 percent) indicated that they are encouraged to donate more by believing that the charity organisation could help them in the future during hardship times. „The donor’s behaviour fully corresponds to the Lithuanians character – we are humble, sincerely believing that it is not necessary to tell others about the donation and expect to receive tangible benefits from it”, says I. Radavičienė, consumer behaviour expert.

To which beneficiaries’ requests for help do the donors respond most often?

The research revealed that Lithuanians donate the most for sick children (18 percent), the people in poverty (16 percent), the church (15 percent), and animals (14 percent). The motive of the beneficiary’s innocence has an impact on the donor – 43 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement “If I know that the beneficiary is innocent, I prefer to donate to him/her”. Moreover, even 53 percent of the respondents state they would prefer to donate to those who were affected by natural disasters or other disasters beyond their control.

When asked how they donate, the respondents most often indicated that they buy a product/service and part of the price of it is allocated to support (24 percent), and those who donate in cash to a donation box (20 percent). Almost a fifth of respondents choose to donate online (19 percent), 18 percent donates by phone (short number), 17 percent donates directly to the beneficiary. According to G. Šopaitė-Šilinskienė, donation methods chosen by Lithuanian donors are similar to the ones chosen in other countries. In Great Britain, for example, the most popular donation methods are also cash or the purchase of a good, again 19 percent of donors donate online. However, Lithuanians donate by short telephone numbers even 2.5 times more often.

Transparency and reputation of the organisation are especially important for Lithuanians

The results of the research showed that donors are very sensitive to the transparency and reputation of the organisation implementing the support projects. Even 77 percent of the respondents state that they donate more to an honest organisation, 64 percent – which publishes its financial statements. According to G. Šopaitė-Šilinskienė, the head of, this data shows that Lithuanians assess themselves as very rational donors. “Lithuanians are most likely motivated to be careful and check the organisation to which they donate their money in cases of non-transparency that are heard from time to time in the public space or personal encounters with dishonesty. However, it is a paradox that not all organisations publish their financial statements, but still, they receive significant support from donors. It means that they make the final decision to donate impulsively”, states G. Šopaitė-Šilinskienė.

The research revealed that 69 percent of donors tend to give support to an organisation which goals of the activity are known to them. Also, again 69 percent of the respondents agreed with the statement that they are more willing to donate to an organisation they trust. 64 percent of the respondents indicated that the reputation of the organisation is important to them. For a significantly smaller part – only for 36 percent of the respondents – brand recognisability is an important motivation to donate.

“Trust in a charity organisation is one of the most important factors for a donor. This is confirmed not only by research on the behaviour of donors in Lithuania but also in other countries. For Lithuanians, the beneficiary’s reputation and personal sense of trust are a significantly more important factor than knowing who is the head of the organisation or a famous person’s call to donate”, states Indrė Radavičienė.

Lithuania ranks only 94th in the donation ratings

According to the data of the World Giving Index in 2018, 19 percent of residents of Lithuania donate in money and according to this index, our country ranks 94th out of 144. By comparison, in Great Britain, which has deep donation traditions, 68 percent of people donate in money, in Australia – 71 percent, in Malta – 64 percent and in Myanmar which is among the leaders – even 88 percent of the population. Although Lithuania’s index improving every year shows that Lithuanians’ motivation to donate money is increasing, we still lag far behind our neighbours: Latvia ranks 88th, Poland 78th and Estonia 66th.