CBC recently did a piece titled “Checkout Charity: Doing Good, Feeling Bad” based on an online poll done by Ipsos Reid for Public Inc. and some follow-up investigation by the Marketplace team. In their recap blog post, they point out that that:

…44 per cent of respondents felt pressured to give when asked for a donation at the checkout, and most – 62 percent – oppose stores asking for donations in this way.

The reality is, people generally don’t like being asked for money. Period. Sometimes not even when they are in the comfort of their own homes, asked via a nice email and by an organization they’ve supported in the past. So it’s not that surprising to see some survey data showing that people don’t like “feeling pressured” to give while buying other items. What is interesting, however, are some of the reasons why people don’t like to give at the till and what companies can do to increase the likelihood of donation and overall experience when giving.

3 Reasons Why Consumers Don’t Like To Give During Checkout

1. They don’t know where their money goes.

67% of those surveyed said, “It is not clear to me what contribution the retailer is making when they ask me to donate to a charitable cause”. Not knowing where money is going is, not incidentally, a huge beef from regular donors as well. And that’s when they have the luxury of time and access to information to do a bit of digging before they give. So if charities generally aren’t doing a good enough job in those situations, it’s going to be hard for a company to do that on behalf of their charity in a quick interaction and transaction.

2. They don’t know how else the company is supporting the charity (if at all).

62% of people said they’d be more likely to donate if they knew that the retailer was also contributing to the cause. Why should customers donate their hard-earned cash to a charity if the company asking isn’t even making a donation themselves? In fundraising, “lead gifts” (donations made in advance of a launch of a big campaign and/or by notable supporters) show needed momentum and credibility in that others are supporting the campaign. In these checkout donation campaigns, this form of lead giving seems to be missing.

3. They feel pressured to make a donation

At 44% of respondents, “pressured” was the most felt feeling while being asked to give at checkout. This is the one I have the hardest time defending as if we removed all pressure for people to give to charity, the drop in donations and corresponding ramifications would be quite immense. But I think it’s the type of pressure that makes consumers squirmy. And they are in a public setting. Much of giving is influenced by social factors so when we are asked in public to give, amongst other people in our community, it can accentuate that ‘pressured’ feeling to the point where it can be frustrating. Even making some people embarrassed (10%) and angry (8%).

Read the full post here to see if checkout donations are a bad idea and how companies can do a better job at them.