Personally, naming rights and other long term donor recognition platforms don't compel me to give, but, of course, most of those opportunities are far outside my budget and thus a moot point anyways. But I do feel the push and pull between the concept of giving directed by measurable results and giving directed by a the simple desire to help in the moment, especially when there is an obvious degree of suffering that can be alleviated by my brief act. The struggle for many people is that their money is limited and thus a decision has to be made about whether to give in the moment or be more strategic.
For example, say you're walking down the street and you see a person with a sign up ahead reading "Hungry, please help me." Do you give them the dollar in your pocket or send the dollar to the local food bank? Both options will help alleviate hunger, but one will be immediate and the dollar will purchase food on the open market whereas with the donation to the food bank the dollar will be leveraged to purchase more food at discounted rates or staff a food bank where food is donated for free. What to do?
What if you're on the same street and it's a child asking for money to support an after school education program? The child is adorable and ignoring their plea seems cruel, but you don't know if the program is any good or how they spend the money. What to do?
Some people argue for a completely rational based method of giving, such as the effective altruist Peter Singer in his new book The Most Good You Can Do. Other people suggest a giving method that is more in tune with hedonism: give where and when it makes you feel good. I'm of the mind that both methods have their place. Though I'm drawn to the logic of effective altruism, I'm not afraid to admit I'm human and as such the temporary spike in feel-good emotions when I give to the person on the street is appealing.
Taking these ideas away from the personal and into the professional, negotiating the push and pull between people's desire to feel good and give effectively can be a tricky situation for fundraisers to navigate. It highlights the importance of getting to know your donors and understanding what works for one person--facts and figures--may not be appealing to another person--moved by stories and meeting people in person or virtually. Much as in our own lives where there is room to give in multiple ways, there is room for appealing to donors on multiple levels and in fact figuring out the best strategy for your charity should be an area that is consistently revisited as times and donors change.