Atkinson, Richard and Eastwood, Amy
Public Attitudes to Overseas Giving: Does Government Make a Difference? , Southampton, UK Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute 72pp.
(S3RI Applications & Policy Working Papers, A07/05).
To what extent does the UK government influence public attitudes to overseas giving? This question is addressed with qualitative research based on focus group discussions. Knowledge of government involvement in overseas aid was found to be low. The majority of donors and non-donors to overseas causes were cynical about government messages and policies on overseas aid. There were consistent doubts about the effectiveness of development assistance. Existing attitudes towards development are reasonably ‘hardened’ or engrained. Positive influences on overseas giving – all of which seemed more influential than that of the government – included travel, the interventions of well known non-political figures, and the discovery of more direct and concrete ways of giving (e.g. ‘virtual gifts’). Future steps for government involvement in promoting overseas giving more effectively are discussed.
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