I found an interesting article by
Sudhir Venkatesh on charity
in the New York Times. An excerpt:
I told the three people who came to me for advice that, in my opinion, prospective donors had two traits working against them.
First, they confused charity with commerce: that is, they uncritically applied the language of outcome-oriented investment to efforts to change human behavior in social settings. Humans, alas, don’t operate neatly according to market logic, though incentives can shift behavior.
Second, donors seem reluctant to talk about their own self interest. Instead of admitting their personal desires, they speak of selfless charity. Of course, donors can do whatever they want with their money, but this attitude doesn’t help them grow.