The Trick to Getting Narcissists to Give to Charities

Despite their dark side, narcissistic people will engage in charitable behaviors in certain situations, new research suggests

Narcissistic people aren’t known for being generous. But emerging research suggests that narcissistic people may be willing to engage in charitable activities in certain situations, a finding that could have implications for nonprofits seeking to design more effective appeals.

.. comparatively little is known about how and why narcissistic people do good.

.. narcissistic people may be the ultimate “rational actors” when it comes to charitable giving. That is, they tend to weigh the costs and benefits to themselves before acting, unlike other people, who often make emotionally driven or automatic decisions to help and give. Sometimes, this can make narcissists look generous, at least on the surface.

.. We found that those who self-identified as narcissistic were more likely to post a video of themselves doing the challenge but less likely to actually donate money. That suggested to us that narcissistic people were motivated to take part in the challenge not because they cared about the issue—even though on the surface it may have seemed like they did—but because they wanted the attention that came with posting a video.

That said, the videos themselves helped increase awareness of ALS, so it is likely that even those who posted videos without donating money played a role in the success of the campaign.

.. The takeaway for charities is that narcissistic people may prefer engaging in charitable activities that are easy, don’t cost anything and that involve a one-time commitment. An example would be so-called slacktivism activities, such as sharing social-media posts, which can be used to draw attention to certain important issues.

.. These examples suggest that charities might want to consider increasing the rewards or benefits that come from donating, especially in populations that tend to score higher in narcissism, such as males and younger adults

These benefits could be tangible, such as a small gift, although intangible benefits such as attention and reputation might matter even more to narcissistic people.

.. there may be a place in the world for all kinds of givers, and understanding what drives narcissistic people to do good could help charitable organizations be more strategic in how they appeal for help.

America: The Redeemer Nation

We need a new national narrative.

One way to identify one is to go back to one of the odd features of our history. We are good to our enemies after wartime. After the revolution, we quickly became allies with Britain. After World War I, Woodrow Wilson was humane to our European enemies. After World War II, America generously rebuilt Germany and Japan.

Elsewhere, enmities last for centuries. But not here. Why? Because we have a national predilection for fresh starts. Coming to this country is for many people a new beginning. We turn every new presidential administration, every new sports season, every graduation ceremony into a new beginning. It’s said Americans don’t settle arguments, we just leave them behind.

The story of America, then, can be interpreted as a series of redemptions, of injury, suffering and healing fresh starts.

  • .. In the 18th century divisions between the colonists were partially healed.
  • In the 19th century divisions between the free and enslaved were partially healed.
  • In the 20th, America partially healed the divisions between democracy and totalitarianism.

.. The great sermon of redemption and reconciliation is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural.

.. This is a speech of great moral humility. Slavery, Lincoln says, was not a Southern institution, it was an American institution, weaving through our common history for 250 years. The scourge of war, which purges this sin, falls on both sides. Lincoln fought any sense of self-righteous superiority the Northerners might harbor. He rejected any thought that God is a tribal God. He put us all into the same category of ambiguity and fallenness.

.. The final prayer heralds a new beginning: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds…to achieve lasting peace among all nations.”

 .. He combines Christian redemption with the multiculturalist’s love of diversity. In one brilliant stroke, Lincoln deprives Christian politics of the chauvinism and white identitarianism that we see now on the evangelical right

The House tax bill unleashes a dangerous avalanche of campaign cash

the Republican-controlled House has passed a tax bill that, should it become law, would unleash another tidal wave of change. It would permit churches, charities and foundations to engage in candidate-specific politicking and enable donors to reap tax breaks for political contributions for the first time.

.. What the House bill really amounts to is throwing open an entirely new channel for campaign money to politicize churches, charities and foundations.

.. What if these donors are tempted to give their money to a 501(c)3 organization that beckons with a tax deduction and no disclosure?

.. The change is unwanted by large numbers of tax-exempt groups, who fear the corrosive impact.

.. The change would also set a dangerous precedent, offering a federal subsidy — the tax deduction — for those making political contributions.

The churches, charities and foundations already enjoy the right to advocate for issues. There is no need to give these groups a new cash window and make them servants of special interests seeking to further warp the nation’s electoral politics.

Opt Out of the Lesser of Two Evils

The atheist Christopher Hitchens used to argue that religion was useful for getting good and conscientious people to do wicked things. Politics can be used in the same way. Those two candidates could only have advanced so far because American politics is so tightly wired to our fears and hatreds. Why would anyone decent support either of them — unless on some level you feared and hated the other side?

.. Asked if he could unequivocally state that he never dated a teenager when he was in his thirties, Moore replied: “It would be out of my customary behavior.”

.. I’d like to advance the political case against letting fear and hatred lead us to consistently lower our standards and lend our support to the ambitions of less and less worthy people.

.. First, there is is the argument from credibility. Every social conservative who supports Moore is increasing the cynicism of American society and justifying widespread skepticism about the sincerity of Christian belief among conservatives. People are reminded frequently that Christian conservatives once demanded that Bill Clinton resign in shame for carrying on an affair with a White House intern. Now some of those supposedly godly men, or their sons, defend Moore’s predation of teenaged girls on the grounds that even a child predator is better than a Democrat. This instrumentalism will eventually make it impossible for social conservatives to defend any of their preferred policies.

.. The country won’t give consent to pro-life laws if they have good reason to suspect their advocates are insincere. And the public will shrug at the abrogation of religious liberties if it thinks these amount to privileges for hypocrites.

.. You cannot be a good citizen of your country if your immediate political interests outrank every other good in the commonweal. And You cannot be a good citizen of your country if your immediate political interests outrank every other good in the commonweal. And citizenship requires some self-abnegnation, even some risk. Advancing a man of Roy Moore’s character to the Senate worsens public life in obvious ways.

  • He’s unethical.
  • He flouts the law.
  • And he is peculiarly holier than thou.

Telling yourself that “this is war, and in war you have to make less than ideal choices” is a great way to excuse the destruction of your charity and the lifting of restraint, with collateral damage to your integrity.

.. Choosing the lesser of two evils is a fantastic way to prepare yourself to do worse and worse evils. And following it to the end is a bitter fate indeed. The worst tragedies of recent history were driven by masses of people giving in to existential fear and hatred. There are many alive today in Central and Eastern Europe who made themselves into Fascists or Communists in order to resist or avenge the Communists and the Fascists. But the names we remember and revere are often those who carefully and bravely stood apart.