It is impossible to perform acts of charity with no ulterior motive at all


3E1 will be dealing with this issue, and I think it is a very relevant one, given the recent NKF debacle. Ivan has been elected to represent the class, but I add, as always, that he is merely the frontman. The real effort must come from the class via research, useful links and suggestions for organization.

What are my thoughts on this topic? Well, I think it depends on how we are defining charity, and what we imply by the word ‘ulterior’. Basically, ulterior motives are those that are hidden for some reason or other. For example, if a large company makes a donation and then insists on publicising it, then the main motive may not be the stated one of helping an institution, but the hidden one of gaining free publicity and goodwill. The question, though, is not whether some acts acts of charity are motivated by other factors than the most obvious. The question is- is it possible to be completely altruistic? Is anyone ever really altruistic?

What are your thoughts on the issue?

11 thoughts on “It is impossible to perform acts of charity with no ulterior motive at all

  1. Nice mindmap, Ryan. Thank you. Your examples are good ones! Basically as I understand it, you are saying that it is not impossible to perform the acts of charity without an ulterior motive, but that it is difficult to find people like this. Some of the points are a little cryptic, but the overall message seems clear. Kudos on the prompt post!

  2. when someone donates, he or she may have an ulterior motive(eg. CIP hrs, seek attention, lucky draw tickets)
    with no ulterior motive( care for the unfortunate, generous, too much money to spend)

  3. ” it is impossible to perform acts of charity with no ulterior motive”
    –People expect something in return when they do charitable acts.”
    “NKF show reach out to the audience by giving away branded cars, grand prizes or huge amounts of cash to people who have won from lucky draws by donating money.”
    –People do charitable deeds to gain fame.
    “Companies tend to donate to advertise their own company as well as making their company have good reputation.”
    “Celebrities donate large amount of money to be well known for being generous.”
    –(some people just donate or do charitable acts purely out of kindness)
    ” Along the streets, there are people who perform to earn a living. Passerby would emphatise and appreciate their performance by donating money passionately without having the thought of getting something in return”

  4. The very fact that people donate to charities that host lucky draws with attractive prizes to be won rather than putting their money into money tins with no reward shows that behind every donation made,there are ulterior motives.Even the government set up organisations to collect clothes,money and other things in the hope that when their country is in need,then the country they had donated to lend a helping hand.Some people also donate money in return for recognition and fame.For example,some companies donate huge sum of money so that their companies can get popular.This is a form of publicity as it helps to advertise the company name.This shows that people do charity for the benefits they receive in return.

    -[yiTiNg,Gayatri & huikeng]

  5. Yes I can see some good points here. I guess the challenge now is for Ivan to take stock of all this and decide which side of the fence he wants to be on. Keep thinking about the issue, 3E1, I appreciate the speed with which you are responding.

  6. 4) It is impossible to perform acts of charity with no ulterior motive.
    – Children donate just because of the sake of the sticker.
    – People’s mindset: they want rewards when they donate
    – ‘If not compulsory people won’t do’ Do things for own benefit, not for others.
    – ‘It’sthoughts that counts’ but we will no know if these people really have the thought or not.
    – Not WILLING to participate if hard works are not paid back. THey want everything to be FAIR.
    – Quote from advertisement:
    Street performers: lalala
    Passer by: ‘ting’ (drop coins)
    Street performers: Eh sir! GST increase already, donate more leh!
    Passer by went back and ‘tong’ more coins’

  7. “The largest U.S. charity was rocked when Aramony, president and CEO of United Way of America, resigned in February 1992 following a private inquiry into allegations of lavish spending, cronyism and poor financial accountability. In 1995, Aramony was convicted in federal court of multiple counts including conspiracy, fraud and filing false tax returns and sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Leaders of local United Way chapters also have dipped into the till. In 2004, Oral O. Suer, a former top executive of the United Way of the National Capital Area, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for stealing nearly $500,000 from the charity and earlier this year, an internal investigation found that Ralph Dickerson Jr. former leader of the United Way of New York City, diverted $227,000 of charitable assets for personal use in 2002 and 2003. The chapter said it had notified the New York Attorney General’s Office, but no charges have been filed.”

    -Source :
    Date : Nov 20, 2006

    An example of ulterior motive for charity. This can be used together with the NKF scandals.

    Quick information about the NKF scandal.

  8. firstly, people dontes for self-satisfaction. its feels great when u do something kind, and people do like this kind of glowing feeling deep from their heart.
    secondly, companies dontes to gain fame or make a good image, as their names will always be published.
    thirdly, even for those people who donates to get rid of their change, that is still a motive!
    fourth point, mother and dad donates to set good examples for their kids, another motive
    fifth, charitable organisations have lucky draws for the doners, so people donates as they are attracted by the prizes to be won, so their ulimate motive is to gamble their luck, donate a small amount of money in hope of a big prize
    sixth point, people donate for other people’s regconition, they want others to know that they are kind, and helpful.

  9. Thanks for this very organized breakdown. It makes the whole issue very clear and easy to handle. So it appears that you are firmly on the side of the motion.

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