Capacity Building Event

For Good or For Ego? Changing Motivations for Philanthropy and Their Impact on Funding

Presented by: Stanford Social Innovation Review

This complimentary SSIR Live! program will explore:

  • Insights into key motivations for giving, based on new research
  • Practical strategies to implement in response to potentially changing giving motivations
  • Understandings of generational differences in giving, and what these means for your organization

Nonprofits often appeal to donors’ compassion to inspire giving. In reality, individuals give for many other reasons, including giving for tax benefits, or because donors admire the social entrepreneur leading a particular organization. Others may choose to give to enhance their real or perceived social status—achieving immortality by having their name on a building—which has become a boon for hospitals, universities, libraries, and museums.

Emerging research in the philanthropic sector raises concerns that donor empathy as a primary cause of giving may be declining, driven by donor burnout, and overtaken by more narcissistic reasons. Is this an actual trend, manifesting across all donor segments? And if so, what might this mean for the foundations of civil society and philanthropy?  This complimentary SSIR Live! webinar will explore motivations for giving, changes over time in charitable giving, and possible generational differences in approaches to philanthropy. 

Sara Konrath from Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University will be joined by Virginia B Clark, assistant secretary emerita for advancement, Smithsonian Institution and Of Counsel for Marts and Lundy Inc. and they will discuss what this research potentially means for nonprofits, foundations, fundraisers and those committed to social good. To provide greater context before joining the webinar, we encourage you to read a recently published article by authors from the Lilly School in Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Eight Myths of US Philanthropy.”

Program Features

Expert Speakers

Sara Konrath is an associate professor of philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She is also the director of the interdisciplinary program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR). She received her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Michigan in 2007. Konrath has published dozens of papers in top scientific journals, writes a popular “Psychology Today” blog, and her research has been featured in national and international media.

Virginia B. Clark is the assistant secretary emerita for advancement, Smithsonian Institution and Of Counsel for Marts & Lundy Inc. Virginia joined Marts & Lundy Inc. in 2019 after serving over 35 years in development leadership positions in higher education and cultural organizations. Her commitment to supporting the profession and interest in business and her communities has led her to serve on boards of various organizations including CASE, WXPN, Morris Arboretum, and Haverford Trust. She currently serves on the boards of the Eisenhower Fellowships, Salem University, Wings Neck Trust and on the Leadership Council of the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Interactive Session

This program will be conducted as a lively, interactive session. You’re encouraged to ask the speakers questions during the webinar to explore the topic further. The speakers will answer some additional questions after the broadcast in the “Comment Box” at the bottom of this page. You are welcome to interact with them.

Real-world Examples

Using compelling scientific research and case studies, panelists will discuss changes in the giving landscape and how organizations can meet changing audiences and motivations in a way that is both persuasive and productive.

Who Should Attend?

This SSIR Live! program is valuable for all nonprofit practitioners and those interested in donor motivations.  A blend of primary research and in-the-field case studies and best practices will be shared.

On-Demand Version

Register and access the recording of the live event on-demand three hours after the webinar ends and anytime over the next 12 months.

Complimentary Registration

Register for FREE for this webinar, sponsored by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Your registration provides you with access to the live interactive webinar, downloadable slides, and unlimited access to the recorded webinar video for 12 months from the date of broadcast.


  • Sara Konrath
    Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University
    Director of the interdisciplinary program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR)
  • Virginia B. Clark
    Assistant Secretary Emerita for Advancement, Smithsonian Institution
    Of Counsel for Marts and Lundy Inc.
  • Marcie Bianco (moderator)
    Editor, Print, Stanford Social Innovation Review
Date/Time: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Location: Webinar

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