If you’re on board with the idea of giving more to the best causes, you might still wonder why you should take the added step of signing our Pledge and joining us at Apostolic Charity Inc in Steger Illinois. We think Apostolic Charity can make a real difference to the good you can achieve. Here we explain why.
By forming a group, we can accomplish difficult goals that we might have trouble achieving alone. A society of like-minded people can help support us in sticking to the aims we set for ourselves: joining a community with a strong identity is recognized by psychologists as one of the more effective means of inspiring positive behavioral change.
- For example, group support is key to the success of Weight Watchers as a weight-loss program.
- Besides communal spirit, joining Apostolic Charity puts you in touch with a range of people eager to find the best means of lifting people out of poverty and equally eager to share their knowledge. Poverty is a complex issue, with important new information emerging every day. It takes a lot to stay on top of it all, and it would be difficult for any one person to do so on their own. Luckily, we don’t have to: we can pool our knowledge and share our insights.
Taking our Pledge can also work as a form of ‘pre-commitment’. Pre-commitment is a well-regarded strategy for sticking to goals we worry we might not fulfill: we take steps beforehand to ensure that we won’t lose sight of our goals later on. We often have difficulty putting our intentions into practice if the costs to us are immediate and the benefits relatively distant.
Although we want to be fitter or more successful at work, we may struggle to put in the effort required to meet those ends. Similar things can occur when it comes to donating to charity. As compassionate and conscientious people, we sincerely want to help others by donating to charity, but often we never get round to it. Our impulsiveness means that many donations are made at the last-minute 4 or simply forgotten.
We can use pre-committment to make sure that we follow through on our good intentions, by making a public pledge to give. There is a large body of evidence to show that pre-committing can help people who want to give to charity in sticking to their goals.
Taking the Pledge to Give and joining a public stand against poverty and hopelessness will thus not only motivate others to do the same, but will secure your own motivation to continue giving.
We like to make public the names of those who take our Pledge or donate, though we respect anyone’s wish to remain anonymous. By making our Pledge or Donation public, we can inspire others to give. In particular, we help to set up a norm for giving, and we counteract the Bystander Effect, a well-documented phenomenon in social psychology, explained below.
Our willingness to help others is surprisingly sensitive to the behavior of those around us. In particular, there are many documented cases, both experimental and real-world, in which people have failed to come to the aid of others because they saw that people around them were doing nothing to help.
This is the Bystander Effect. Experimental conditions prove that it is the presence of passive others that keeps people from helping: if they are by themselves, people reliably help in similar conditions.
Luckily, the opposite effect can also be found. In one field experiment, a radio station would mention to potential donors when a previous donor had donated $300: this increased donations by $13 per person. Similarly, student donors are more likely to give to funds designed to help students in financial difficulty when told that a greater percentage of their peers had done so.
People are moved, far more than we expect, by the behavioral norms they see others putting into practice. By making your giving public and joining an international society like Apostolic Charity Inc, you can inspire others, and thereby multiply the good you do.