Encouraging altruism

Can you disprove this?  Students are less likely to be committed to charitable giving after taking part in fundraising activities through the students’ union.

This guide will be easier to do in institutions with many students on courses lasting several years.



Charitable giving – giving regularly to charity

Fundraising – students actively raising money for charitable causes through RAG societies or equivalent


Part A. Quantitative – build the argument

Survey 370 students towards the start of their time in fundraising: (e.g. 1st years)

  • How much is a normal amount to give regularly to charity? (0, 0.5%, 1%, 2%, 5%, more)

Survey another group near the end of their time in fundraising: (e.g. 3rd/4th years)

  • How much is a normal amount to give regularly to charity? (0, 0.5%, 1%, 2%, 5%, more)

Is there any significant difference between the sets of responses?


Part B. Qualitative – how does your students’ unions contribute?

Interview 5-10 members from the second group, who have been doing fundraising for the longest time. Ask them about how fundraising through student groups shaped their opinions of charity.


Advanced questions

Clearly financial giving is only one dimension of giving, how can we do a similar exercise considering students’ willingness to give time, skills and connections to charities in future?

If you are interested in this evidence over the long term, it would be much better to survey the same group throughout their time in education.

A longitudinal study of actual alumni will help assess whether expected levels of giving are realised and whether any charitable behaviours become stronger or weaker over time.

What charities are your students donating to? Do they obviously align with your SU’s values?


Existing literature


Example posters from students' unions

Keele University Students' Union (additional explainer)



(If you develop an interview and/or a survey template, please send them in for others to use