What drives Ukrainians when they decide to help the others?

 By Eugenia Mazurenko, CEO of Zagoriy Foundation

According to a recent study produced by the Zagoriy Foundation, 60% of Ukrainians engaged in charitable practices in 2019. Furthermore, 87% of them have participated in charitable activities at least once in their lives. 

What encourages Ukrainians to give?

The most popular reason why Ukrainians help others is compassion for those who find themselves in difficult life circumstances. Seventy-one percent of respondents choose compassion as a main motive. This high level of empathy is supported by the understanding that the social protection system in the country does not work in an appropriate way. Sixty-seven percent of respondents mention that they give because they want to be able to get help themselves if they need it in the future. This attitude is based on trust and reinforces it, and also creates a charitable deposit. Our good deeds increase our social capital and increase our chances to receive help at a time in the future when we might need it. In addition to these  insights, the study reveals fascinating new facts about the motivations behind charitable giving in Ukraine. 

Emotions or rationality?

Ukrainians who give are usually driven by emotions, not by rational reasons. In addition to being motivated to give by  sorrow, anxiety and feelings of insecurity,  22% of respondents said that they enjoy  feeling the gratitude of those who receive help. However, when people are driven by rational reasons, charitable giving could transform into a systematic practice. It is much better to donate regularly to a transparent foundation rather than to a random person. On the other hand, a charitable organisation should take into account the emotional aspect of charitable giving. When starting a communication campaign charitable workers should have a clear understanding of what kind of emotions they want to evoke. People prefer to be a part of a solution rather than a part of a problem. That is why charitable organisations with positive messages usually get more social and financial support.

If not me, then who?

The study also shows a high level of empathy and social responsibility. Many of the respondents mention that they want to contribute to solutions to important problems. They understand that charity is something necessary not only to the beneficiaries, but also to society as a whole. They are driven by a feeling of duty to make their country a better place. Only a small number of Ukrainians consider charitable activities as an integral part of tradition or even a habit; and for some it provides an opportunity to maintain relationships with like-minded people. And finally, some respondents say that they just feel uncomfortable to refuse when they are asked for help, or they can spare to give away used and unnecessary things. 

How Ukrainians join charitable practices

The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (88%) choose a monetary donation as the most convenient way to help others. Moreover, it does not require additional effort from a philanthropist. Forty-one percent of Ukrainians give food, clothing, medicines and other items to those who are in need. Only 9% of respondents say that they help by providing services or work for free. On the other hand, it should be noted that people often do not consider such assistance as charitable at all. 

Despite their low income, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians tend to help others. The main reason which deters charitable giving in Ukraine is a lack of trust in charitable organisations. People usually prefer unsystematic donations and help. Transparency in reporting, active and systematic communication with the public and donors, and using creative forms of public involvement could possibly increase trust in the charitable sector and develop a culture of charitable giving in Ukraine.


By Eugenia Mazurenko, CEO of Zagoriy Foundation

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