Studies in the social sciences, especially in sociology and economics, have revealed an interesting pattern in the giving habits of different income groups. The chief finding is that the poor give greater fractions of their incomes to charitable causes than their richer counterparts. It also appears that the poor, the working-classes, and the middle-class give out of empathy and compassion for the less fortunate and privileged, and tend to give more often to direct-aid efforts, while the rich are more likely to give to the colleges they went to, to the arts, and to education generally. These findings are startlingly consistent across the world, and are reflected in the donation patterns of givers in the developing world as well.
There is a simple explanation for why the poor give oftener than the rich, and for why their giving is driven usually by impulse. They are closer than the wealthy are to human problems – hunger, the violation of spaces and bodies, and limited opportunities to acquire education. With the rich, a social insulation serves as an invisible wall between social problems and themselves. Therefore, the rich are able to plan for giving, have annual budgets for giving back to their communities, and to allow themselves time to premeditate where and to what cause they will give.
The poorer classes are also apt to give not just in money, but in kind, as opposed to the very affluent, who almost always give money. Through charitable programs mediated historically by churches, mosques and other religious institutions, people have been enabled to give away used clothes, shoes, medicine, blankets, dry food and other housekeeping supplies. The middle-class carries the most representatives of those who contribute to non profit social activism ventures by volunteering their time and leveraging their skills sets to make a difference in the world.
The technological revolution that began in the late nineties and reached a peak in the mid-2000s has had an impact on the giving habits of those without high incomes. Giving, for these classes, has shifted online in a noticeable way. Crowdfunding, which is a method of fundraising where donor pool funds to raise a target, is responsible for this in large part. Individuals are encouraged to give in smaller amounts, which has made it easier for low income givers to give something, no matter how small, from anywhere. The user friendly process has also empowered those in need to ask for help with funds, and it is again the poorer groups of givers who have responded best to these calls.