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Exploring Charitable Norms and Narratives: The Stories and Values That Influence Giving

Laws and regulations are often the focus of conversations about what might promote or inhibit charitable giving, but social norms and narratives can be just as powerful—or even more powerful—drivers of prosocial behavior. They shape charitable giving practice in fundamental ways.

Join the Urban Institute for Exploring Charitable Norms and Narratives: The Stories and Values That Influence Giving, a two-day, virtual convening featuring research presentations and broad-ranging discussions about the norms and narratives surrounding generosity and charitable giving. 

The virtual convening will draw on new research from the Urban Institute, the Media Ecosystems Analysis Group, and the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and will surface insights from practitioners and other leaders to explore 

  • how charitable and philanthropic giving appear in social media, movies, and film; 
  • how approaches to teaching charity and generosity, in both the household and school, have developed in recent years; 
  • how campaigns encouraging other prosocial behaviors might inform and intersect with those seeking to increase charitable giving and generosity; and
  • whether distinct norms and narratives govern the giving of elites and mass donors. 

We will pay particular attention to how the norms and narratives surrounding charitable giving have been shaped by, and in turn have shaped, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and campaigns to promote racial equity.


Please RSVP by September 11. Space is limited.

Support for this event is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

Send any inquiries regarding this event to [email protected].

Image credit: GermanVectorPro/Shutterstock


Date & Time Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020

  • Senior Fellow, Research
  • Senior Research Associate