The Pathless Cases

Our remaining six case studies do not neatly fit on any WoA pathway. We see remnants of some affiliation influences in some of the cases, helping to explain their moderate participation in giving. In others we see how being surrounded by people not interested in or supportive of giving makes it unlikely that these cases would ever get involved in or maintain interest in actualizing their generous impulses.

Cindy Phelps: Young, Professional Texan Tutors in New York City Cindy Phelps is a “residual” affiliation case who is an Impulsive giver involved in some volunteering. While she does not have a strong enough web of affiliations to push her to give more than she otherwise would, the relational support to give from her parents and friends does link to the WoA that associates with whether or not someone gives (as shown in Figure 5.9).

parental influence (moderate)

When we asked Cindy, “To the best of your knowledge or memory, did your parents voluntarily give money to charity, religious organizations, nonprofits, or other people or causes?,” she replied, “I think for a while. My mom always would throw away all of my stuff, like give it to Goodwill, and I always freak[ed] out about it.” This is one of the more narrow forms of parental modeling for giving that we encountered. However, it is one of the main forms of giving that Cindy herself participates in, demonstrating that parental models for giving play a clear role in shaping generosity in their children as adults.

On the volunteering front, Cindy saw her mom (but not her dad) volunteer: “My mom did a lot of work for the Parent Teacher Association, the PTA. She worked at like the Rape Crisis Center. My mom mostly did all of the volunteering. My dad didn’t really volunteer.” She summarizes her parents’ generosity by saying, “I would say my mom is a very generous person, by spending her time and caring about other people. My dad is not as generous as my mom, but they’re both, I think, nice, generous, caring people.” However, in the end, Cindy says, “I don’t think they were super influential. Yeah, I wouldn’t say they were super influential.” Thus Cindy has a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to her parental influence to give.

 
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