Why do people do what they do? It's a fundamental question that marketers attempt to understand and in the world of fundraising the question is more "Why do people give?" It's quite a difficult question to answer as people have different backgrounds and personalities and as such have different reasons for giving , or not giving (if you want to learn more about your own giving, you can take a neat giving personality quiz here).
Thankfully, there is more and more research being done in this area to discover what really makes donors tick (as opposed to what they say makes them tick). This research has shown that maybe overhead really doesn't matter that much, that giving can make us quite happy and when we are happy, after giving, we are more likely to do another good deed.
And more specifically for fundraisers, that we need to combat an inherent sense of futility when giving by making communications and projects more tangible. Below I've summarized 4 scientific studies, found in Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity, covering social influence and goal proximity (in addition to tangibility) that fundraisers can, and should, learn from.