Why philanthropists choose to remain anonymous
There has been speculation about the identity of an anonymous donor who gave 25 million dollars to Drexel University this week. There are many motivations for remaining anonymous as a donor, but it can be a difficult task for philanthropists.
There has been speculation about the identity of an anonymous donor who gave 25 million dollars to Drexel University this week. There are many motivations for remaining anonymous as a donor, but it can be a difficult task for philanthropists – from WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, Maiken Scott reports:
The names of philanthropists are written on plaques all over the region – but many donors would rather not be named at all. Dr. Stephen Post studies generosity at the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. He says one factor in choosing anonymity is the donor’s “giving philosophy”:
Post: It excludes the possibility of social reciprocation and reputational gain. In other words, anonymous giving has long been associated with motivational purity.
There are practical reasons as well, Katherina Rosqueta, Executive Director of The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania says many donors see their giving as a private decision, and don’t want to be hit up for gifts. But protecting donors’ identities is becoming increasingly difficult:
Rosqueta: There seems to be a bit of an obsession around where the dollars are coming from, who gave it and how much and unfortunately looking not as much at what all these donors really do care about which is the impact their gift is intended to make
Rosqueta says that the fear of being “outed” as a donor could persuade people not to make a gift.
WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.