Ideal Reciprocity: From Social Exchange to Social Change Jessica R. Dreistadt BUSA 770: Advancement, Fundraising, and Philanthropy for the Nonprofit Eastern University August 10, 2012



Ideal Reciprocity: From Social Exchange to Social Change Introduction Reciprocity is most often conceptualized as a natural and effective means to maintain social equilibrium. This paper will explore the political, economic, neurological, emotional, normative, deontological, and contextual aspects of reciprocity and related implications for fundraising practice. This will lead to the introduction of a new construct, ideal reciprocity, and its two branches: existential and communal. The paradigm of ideal reciprocity will be promoted as a means to advance individual organizations and the nonprofit sector, leading to positive social change. Reciprocity: A Multidisciplinary Understanding The literature on reciprocity is rich and diverse. Scholars in political science, economics, neurology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology have made significant contributions to our understanding of this phenomenon. Reciprocity is typically understood as a means of social exchange that uses economic and/or symbolic currency to maintain social equilibrium. Development professionals can glean great insights from the literature to improve fundraising practice. Yet, the literature also points to the possibilities of viewing reciprocity in terms of the generative potential of egalitarian relationships. Political Economy of Reciprocity Reciprocity is an exchange of economic, social, or symbolic value (Lebra, 1975;



Schieffelin, 1980; Shuman, 2000). At any given moment in time, there is an imbalance of exchange and reciprocal action seeks to restore equilibrium (Leifer, 1988). While reciprocity is usually understood as an exchange between two or among three people, it can also transpire between individuals and organizations or between organizations. When donors make charitable contributions, it is much more than a financial transaction from donor to recipient. Such giving holds great symbolic power, often rooted in emotion, and with it comes the expectation that some benefit will accrue to the donor, the community, or the cause. The purpose of much charitable giving is to alleviate discrepancies between those who are doing well, and have the means to give, and those who need assistance, and benefit from a service provided by the organization to which funds are entrusted. Social exchanges are influenced, in part, by the value brought by each participant and the expected beneficial outcomes to both (DiDomenico, Tracey, & Hough, 2009). Reciprocity is influenced by the perceived equity of redistributive transactions (Mau, 2004). Reciprocity typically connotes an expectation of beneficial return to the initiator and people choose to give to others when they expect the recipient will have the ability to return the favor (DiDomenico, Tracey, & Hough, 2009; Komter, 2010). Expected return can be immediate or over the long-term (Emerson, 1976; Engelsen, 2008). Reciprocity involves taking a risk that what is given will not be returned (Glanville & Bienenstock, 2009). Reciprocity can be conditional; such exchanges are often not initiated unless there is an expectation that others will behave cooperatively (Dubreuil, 2008). When donors give, there is often an expectation placed upon to recipient



organization. These expectations may include accountability, recognition, participation, or tangible outcomes according to the motivation of each individual donor. Game theory can be used to understand how reciprocity is experienced in dyadic and triadic relationships. This utilitarian theory exposes the predictable ways that people cooperate and compete in various situations in order to maximize outcomes; it does not reveal underlying intentions or motivation (Binmore, 2004). People both share with others who are cooperative and sanction those who do not comply with social norms -even when it is personally costly to them (Engelsen, 2008). There are both costs and benefits involved in charitable giving. Donors may carefully weigh the direct and opportunity costs of making a contribution in comparison with the expected benefit to them, the organization, the community, and/or the cause. Because there is likely a limited pool of funds to be contributed, which may or may not be predetermined by the donor before interaction with organizations seeking funds, donors must carefully evaluate how those funds can best be used to attain the desired outcomes. Propensity to engage in reciprocity can be influenced both by the potential contribution of the receiver and the costs she or he imposes on society (Segall, 2005). Giving leads to more consistent and generous reciprocity than taking away, which leads to negative forms of reciprocity that may quickly escalate (Keysar, Converse, Wang, & Epley, 2008). Negative reciprocity may include withholding rewards or coercion (Befu, 1977); this can come from the other person or from a third party (Binmore, 2004). In most societies, people are punished – formally or informally – when they are not in compliance with social norms; this often happens through the removal of rewards or



expectancies for normal social interaction with others (Binmore, 2004). Punishments differ according to the social distance and understood motivation of the person who violates social norms (Dubreuil, 2008). Bicchieri, Xiao, and Muldoon (2011) found that most people expect punishment when people do not comply with the expectation that trust would be reciprocated. A lack of reciprocation can lead to a suspension of future gifts; reciprocation is positive reinforcement for the giving behavior (Emerson, 1976). When organizations do not fulfill the expected reciprocal arrangement with donors, the donor may sanction the organization by withdrawing support and sharing negative information within their social network. There are expected courtesies for organizations that receive gifts such as appropriate acknowledgement and using funds for the purpose intended by the donor. In addition, individual donors may have unique needs that that they seek to satisfy through their involvement with the organization. Through both adherence to ethical fundraising practice and intentional relationship building with donors, organizations can avoid transforming a positive reciprocal relationship into one that becomes negative. Relationships are a particularly important form of social capital for charitable giving (Brown & Ferris, 2007). Reciprocity and trust are both antecedents and outcomes of social capital; trust and reciprocity also influence each other (Glanville & Bienenstock, 2009). Trust can be interpersonal or communal (Glanville & Bienenstock, 2009). Access to social capital leads to increased individual involvement in charitable organizations through volunteering and financial contributions; in fact, charitable giving increases social capital in communities (Brown & Ferris, 2007).Nonprofit organizations increase



and create social capital both directly through the programs that are delivered and indirectly through the relationships that are developed throughout the community. By initiating and maintaining positive reciprocal relationships with donors, volunteers, program participants, and the community-at-large, nonprofit organizations can develop both community trust and social capital. Benefits are sometimes distributed to a third party rather than directly back to the initiator; this is called serial reciprocity and can last into perpetuity (Moody, 2006). An initiator can also directly provide a benefit to a third party on behalf of another person with the hope of personal return from that person – this can lead to a sense of indebtedness and promote cooperation (Goldstein, Griskevicius, & Cialdini, 2011). While donors have a direct reciprocal relationship with the organization to whom funds are entrusted, there may also an indirect reciprocal relationship with the people that the organization is serving. Funds are given to the organization with the hope that those who participate in its programs will be better equipped to contribute to society. Many donors give to organizations as a way to express their gratitude for the resources that have been entrusted to them. Reciprocity can be asymmetrical (Segall, 2005) as is the case with much charitable giving. In charitable transactions, the benefits of the giver and receiver may differ or be inequivalent (Eckstein, 2001; Engelsen, 2008; Shuman, 2000). Givers do not necessarily expect an equivalent economic return for their contributions; instead, they may expect a direct symbolic or indirect communal benefit. Reciprocity often represents conditional generosity that determines the level of distribution based on merit (Leon,



2012). Organizations that portray their program participants as deserving in some way, and those that demonstrate program effectiveness, may be able to raise more funds than those who do not convey these messages. People who are not able to give – those with limited financial resources -- may find that they receive very little from others (Komter, 2010). Nonprofit organizations serve as a conduit to equalize opportunity and resources for those who may otherwise not have access, thus restoring a sense of community equilibrium. Charitable giving can maintain the social order by suppressing revolt or by reinforcing hierarchical power structures and legitimizing inequality; thus, giving is often politically motivated and benefits both the giver and recipient (Bowie, 1998; Lebra, 1975). Reciprocity reinforces political legitimacy and is the basis of shared meaning (Bianchin, 2003). Two types of power influence exchange – personal and institutional (Befu, 1977). In fundraising practice, greater power is held by organizations than by individual people. Reciprocity may be based on social or economic interdependence (Lebra, 1975). The prevailing paradigm in fundraising tends to be more utilitarian than egalitarian; it is often viewed in terms of a zero sum game or redistributive justice (Befu, 1977). In contrast, philanthropy can be thought of as a positive sum game where both giver and recipient benefit from the relationship both immediately and over time, with ripples of reciprocity extending from each initial gift. While self-interest does motivate some people, most are driven to reciprocate as an expression of altruism and cooperation (Engelsen, 2008). Reciprocity, and reasons for giving, can vary according to orientations toward the conditions placed on recipients



and the comprehensiveness of provisions leading to four ideal types: generalized based on mutuality; dispositional based on human rights and egalitarianism; obligating based on helping those who are needy; and balanced based on social insurance (Mau, 2004). Donor motivations may cross these categories but will likely fall within one type within the context of a particular organization. Such knowledge about donors can help fundraisers identify prospective donors that are a good fit for the organization, develop relationships with those who want to be involved, and develop a reciprocation strategy that meets the needs of each individual donor. People may do something to help another person, even incurring a personal cost, if they expect a return at some point in the future or to enhance their reputation; people who tend to be more altruistic than egoistic are less concerned with reputation and opportunities for public recognition (Simpson & Willer, 2008). Nonprofit organizations often work to address very complicated community challenges, serve people with multiple difficulties, and/or influence public policy against great opposition; the return on donations is often not immediate but rather occurs and accrues over time. While many donors demand interim reports exhibiting progress toward organizational and community goals, organizations should also improve donor sensitivity to the difficult nature of the work and personal or community changes that are being pursued. Reciprocity promotes cooperation and the achievement of communal goals (Engelen, 2008). Synthesis maximizes economic and community benefits and can be achieved by resolving the differences between the two and promoting mutually beneficial exchanges (DiDomenico, Tracey, & Hough, 2009). Organizations can

IDEAL RECIPROCITY: FROM SOCIAL EXCHANGE TO SOCIAL CHANGE promote reciprocity through fundraising as a means to help communities better


cooperate so that its economic resources are used to create the most community benefit. Neurological Bases of Reciprocity There is a strong mind-body connection; our physical experiences and interactions are understood through cognitive classification and such schemas are influenced by both our innate tendencies and the environment in which we live (Adenzato & Garbarini, 2006). When we observe others’ emotions and physical experiences, our brain responds as though we ourselves were experiencing the same phenomenon; this can lead to a sense of resonance (Adenzato & Garbarini, 2006). Mirror neurons are activated by our own performance or by observation of others performing (Casile, Caggiano, & Ferrari, 2011). Observers cognitively experience the experiences, emotions, and sensations of others through the mirror neuron system; this process is unconscious and automatic but can lead to intentional, deliberative thought (Gallesse, Eagle, & Migone, 2007). Through the mirror neuron system, we can attune to the actions and emotions of others and identify with them (Gallesse, 2006). This system can help us to predict the outcomes of our behavior as well as that of others (Gallesse, 2006; Shmuelof & Zohary, 2007). The mirror neuron system promotes intersubjective understanding by mapping the experience of others within our own brains which can improve cognizance of others’ intentions and emotions; this may lead to the development of empathy. (Gallesse, 2006). The mirror neuron system extends our visual and auditory senses by replicating



the mental process of others; however, it does not lead to reproducing the behavior or to social contagion (Gallesse, Eagle, & Migone, 2007). Many neurology scholars (i.e. Decety, 2010) believe that the impact of mirror neurons is limited to the physical domain and therefore has no connection to shared emotions such as empathy while others (i.e. Vivona, 2009) question the availability of empirical data to link neuroscience findings with psychology overall. Others question the existence of mirror neurons altogether (i.e. Hollan, 2012). Thus, applicability of mirror neuron studies to reciprocity in fundraising may be limited; however, understanding how donors may react and respond to interactions with organizations, their collateral, and the people and communities they serve can help fundraisers intentionally craft compelling communications that lead to donor resonance. Specifically, there are several ideas from the neurological literature that can inform fundraising practice. Observation of others’ facial display emotions leads to a similar response, or mimicry, in the observer (Decety, 2010). Mirror neurons are influenced by social distance, personal interpretation of the action, and the type of action performed (Casile, Caggiano, & Ferrari, 2011). When we observe other human beings taking action, our neurological response is different from interaction with material objects (Stueber, 2012; Wheatley, Milleville, & Martin, 2007). Fundraising activities take many forms such as letters, reports, events, individual meetings. Given the findings of these neurological studies, it would seem that fundraising activities that involve interpersonal interaction would be most effective. Reciprocity is enhanced by frequent interaction and remembrance of past interactions (Dubreuil, 2008).



In addition, neurological composition influences economic decision making and behavior through interactive cognitive and emotional processes that are both automatic and deliberative (Camerer, Loewenstein, & Prelec, 2005). Social awareness, altruism, and cooperation are rooted in our brain structure and have evolved over time to promote group survival (Neiworth, 2009). Further research in the neurology of reciprocal giving may yield important information for the fundraising profession. Emotion: Empathy and Altruism The decision making process can be rational and predictable, but it can also be based on emotion or habit (Emerson, 1976; Engelsen, 2008). While many donors may prioritize the economic domain, others give as an expression of their emotional connection with an organization, community, cause, or individual people. Empathy can be felt both for people who are known and for strangers (Singer & Fehr, 2005). When others feel pain, we can experience empathy through both an evaluative cognitive and an automatic emotional response (Shamay-Tsoory, 2010). People are able to both empathize with others and mentally understand their feelings, intentions, motivations, and experiences (Singer & Fehr, 2005; Stueber, 2012). Because the people who benefit from the work of nonprofit organizations are often unknown -- or are only peripherally known -- to donors, it is important to create a meaningful connection so that donors can truly empathize with the circumstances and goals of those whom their contributions will benefit. This will create a positive reciprocal agreement, possibly increasing ongoing involvement and support. Empathy and prosocial behavior, such as reciprocal initiation, are positively related (Piliavan &



Increasingly, researchers are finding that people are naturally inclined to be altruistic; reciprocal relationships are not necessarily motivated by self-interest (Piliavan & Charng, 1990). Empathy also emerges and develops from the interaction of cognitive and emotive processes influenced by the social and environmental context (ShamayTsoory, 2010). Emotions help people make sense of their circumstances (Gallesse, 2006). Interactions with nonprofit organizations can help donors cultivate a stronger sense of empathy, leading to the development of social capital and positive community reciprocity. Emotions may motivate donors in other ways. Empathy can promote selfpreservation as it can help to stabilize interactions and relationships with others (Singer & Fehr, 2005). Positive and negative emotions mediate the relationship between social norms and reciprocity; for example, the anticipated shame of noncompliance may influence reciprocity behavior (Engelsen, 2008). Donors who are inclined to give to maintain or enhance their reputations among their circle of friends or in the community may be influenced by these ideas. While our emotions may influence behavior, our actions are also shaped by the opportunities and choices that are available to us (Binmore, 2004). Providing donors with multiple means of involvement and reaching out to them on a regular, but not overwhelming, basis will create additional opportunities for them to initiate or continue a reciprocal relationship. Values

IDEAL RECIPROCITY: FROM SOCIAL EXCHANGE TO SOCIAL CHANGE Reciprocity can be an expression of social norms (Engelsen, 2008). Our


decisions and actions are influenced by history, institutions, relationships, culture, and social norms (Engelsen, 2008; Ghezzi & Mingione, 2007). Norms reflect collective beliefs about intentions, expectations, and outcomes of actions (Bicchieri, Xiao, & Muldoon, 2011). These norms, and the behaviors they promote, lead to a sense of cooperative equilibrium within communities (Binmore, 2004). When people act, there is an expectation that others will react in a certain way; there is a mutual understanding of each others’ intentions that can be formalized through institutions (Bianchin, 2003) and these institutions can be changed when they no longer reflect those who are governed by their laws and practices (Binmore, 2004). As mentioned earlier, there are certain basic expectations that donors may have of recipient organizations, or beneficiaries of their work. The norms of the donor organization, recipient organization, or community may further stipulate expectations for intentions and actions in reciprocal giving relationships. Social norms may also be influenced by the means available to enforce them (Andreoni, Harbaugh, & Vesterlund, 2003). Institutions can maintain the social contract by regulating and punishing deviance (Dubreuil, 2008). When others do not comply with social norms, including those of being compassionate, they are sometimes punished to maintain those norms; in addition, those who do comply may be rewarded (Andreoni, Harbaugh, & Vesterlund, 2003). While contributions to nonprofit organizations are voluntary, recipient organizations do have latitude to use those resources in a way that solidifies the norms, or expectations, of donors. In addition, donors can wield their



power over recipient organizations by threatening to withhold support if norms are violated or by providing additional funds to organization that uphold social norms. Institutional norms of reciprocity influence individual attitudes toward giving and sharing (Mau, 2004). Within each organization, norms of reciprocity will develop and govern interactions with donors. Behavior is influenced by both social norms and by individual values (Bicchieri, Xiao, & Muldoon, 2011). Development staff and volunteers may integrate institutional norms with their own ideas about how to best interact with donors; this may lead to the development of new institutional norms or to punishment of the violator. Reciprocity can be spurred by either courtesy, which is ritualistic and promotes self-esteem, or intimacy, which is a long-term and intense way to express positive feelings for another person (Lebra, 1975). This is similar to the previous discussion of giving being influenced by economic or symbolic exchange as well as that regarding egoistic and altruistic motives. Perhaps relationships that begin as transactional can be developed into relationships that are collaborative and transformational. Reciprocal exchanges lead to the development of trust over time (Bichierei, Xiao, & Muldoon, 2011; Eckstein, 2001). When a giver does not expect the receiver to reciprocate, rules are created to govern the conditions for the transaction; such exchanges are based on low trust and weak connections (Phan, Blumer, & Demaiter, 2009). In development work, this is often experienced as major donors making contributions with strings attached. These donors call for accountability and impose their goals and vision, which may not have been as



closely informed by the community served, on the organization. Some (i.e. Veit-Wilson, 2009) feel that charitable organizations are morally required to comply with the demands of donors as they are not able to enter an equitable reciprocal relationship. Many people reciprocate out of a sense of duty, particularly when those helped are not able to care for themselves (Engelsen, 2008; Quong, 2007). A sense of duty derives from the social contract (Binmore, 2004). Reciprocity can intentionally equalize social inequalities when those who have more share with those who have less; this may be a social expectation (Gregory, 1975). Some (i.e. Renwick Monroe, Martin, & Ghosh) believe that morality is innate and is not culturally relative but is influenced by the environment; this morality creates a desire to help others. Some donors give for this reason; they feel a moral obligation to support charitable organizations because it is expected of them. This feeling may derive from innate personal characteristics, social exchanges, or the interaction of both. Reciprocal initiation is based on the past and predicted behaviors of others (Sobel, 2005). When donors make a contribution, they also make a prediction, or have an expectation, about how that donation will be reciprocated. This may be based upon previous interactions with that particular organization or even with other charitable organizations. Opening up conversations between organization development staff and potential donors can promote the beginning of new reciprocal relationships. Prosocial people are inclined to cooperate; however, their willingness to do so may decline if there is a lack of reciprocity and immediate reciprocity will result in more frequent cooperation (Parks & Rumble. 2001). Reciprocity can be disrupted by



mismatches in timing expectations and levels of exchange according to social norms (Leifer, 1988). If others are uncooperative, people who are prosocial may become defensive and uncooperative (Parks & Rumble, 2001). Donors, who express a commitment to the work of an organization by making a contribution, are acting prosocially. Timely reciprocity, which may take the form of a thank you note or phone call, can improve donor cooperation and lead to future and further involvement. Context While the mirror neuron system may provide preliminary information about others, our interpretation of their motivation, intention, and feelings is situated within our prior knowledge of that person as well as the cultural, political, economic, and social context (Hollan, 2012). Our self-concept and understanding of the world in which we live is based on our interactions with others and our collective culture (Adenzato & Garbarini, 2006). The social context includes normative, distributive, symbolic, and organizational components with influence opportunities for interaction (Michalski, 2003). Generosity is more frequent among people who are related or connected in some other way (Komter, 2010). Reciprocity increases with intimacy (Michalski, 2003). Neighborhood factors such as proximity, cohesiveness, and availability of resources may influence expectations for, and ability to participate in, reciprocity (Phan, Blumer, & Demaiter, 2009; Segall, 2005). Perhaps if donors view themselves as part of the same group as those served by the organization, such as members of the same community, they will be more inclined to reciprocate. This can be promoted through intentional messaging by the organization and it staff or volunteers.



Expectations for reciprocity, including why, when, and how to reciprocate, are also culturally embedded (Befu, 1977; Schieffelin, 1980). It is not always socially acceptable for gift givers to expect a return (Emerson, 1976). Understanding the cultural traditions of donors, organizations, communities, and people served can promote understanding and cooperation leading to increased engagement. Givers may act differently in private and public situations (Simpson & Willer, 2008). The situation we are in can lead us to act with self-interest or with altruism; however, people are generally inclined to reciprocate (Leon, 2012). Understanding the motivations and desires of donors, and the circumstances under which they have chosen to make a gift, can help organizations better serve their needs. Social approval is typically sought from others whom the seeker socially approves; social approval may be influenced by the incentives that are offered and can be symbolic (Ellingsen & Johannesson, 2008). Organizations that are perceived to be conventional tend to receive more resources (Michalski, 2003). Thus, alignment of donors with organizations that reflect their values and represent their social networks will lead to enhanced reciprocity. This knowledge can influence communication with donors to enhance their confidence in the organization to appropriately reciprocate. Ideal Reciprocity While most of the literature explains that reciprocity is a means of restoring social equilibrium, it can also disrupt the social order (Shuman, 2000). Such disruption can be positive, leading to generative social change rather than social maintenance. This section will introduce the concept of ideal reciprocity, based on the philosophy of



idealism, and its two iterations: existential and communal. Existential ideal reciprocity is based on an intersubjective understanding of self and has the ultimate goal of becoming whereas communal ideal reciprocity is based on an understanding of the self rooted in the collective and/or the cosmos and has the ultimate goal of transcendence. Through both types of ideal reciprocity, individuals actively live their true life purpose which contributes to social harmony (Befu, 1977; Goldfarb, 2011; Sen, 2012). These types are not necessarily mutually exclusive but can be interactive; an individual could also move between them according to the context. These ideal types may not fully capture the complete range or the nuances of reciprocity practice. Throughout this paper, several dichotomies have been introduced in relation to reciprocity. Ideal reciprocity is based on intimate relationships, symbolic meaning, altruistic motivations, cooperation, egalitarian relationships, and the accrual of complementary individual and communal rewards – a positive sum relationship. Individuals may understand themselves as individuals through interactions and in contrast with others (Bianchin, 2003). Alternatively, self-understanding may be rooted in belonging to a group or in relation to spirituality. In either case, self-awareness is cultivated through external relationships, contexts, and environments. In the former, representing existential ideal reciprocity, social norms and social intentional are cocreated through communication by autonomous and equal individuals (Bianchin, 2003) whereas in the latter, representing communal ideal reciprocity, these constructs are externally defined and regulated a political or religious entity. Thus, both forms of ideal reciprocity have the outcome of generative social change; however, the individual

IDEAL RECIPROCITY: FROM SOCIAL EXCHANGE TO SOCIAL CHANGE motivation and goals differentiate the two types. Ideal Reciprocity in Fundraising Practice


There are many factors that influence charitable giving. These factors include personal experiences, altruism, empathy, sympathy, guilt, peer pressure, psychological rewards, tax benefits, being asked, becoming aware of needs, ability to give, opportunities to socialize, maintaining or enhancing reputation, being able to make a difference, career advancement, identification with a group, enhancement of self-image, a feeling of obligation, or a sense of feeling good; these motivations are not necessarily mutually exclusive but may interact to create unique individual reasons for making a contribution (Andreoni, 1990; Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011; Michalski, 2003; Piliavan & Charng, 1990; Sobel, 2005; Van Slyke & Brooks, 2005). Reciprocity balances selfinterest and altruism through justice (Quong, 2007); thus, donors with a range of motivations can enter into reciprocal relationships through philanthropy. Adding ideal reciprocity to the repertoire of practice will expand the ability of fundraisers and philanthropists to partner for meaningful community and social change. Charitable organizations serve as a social network (Michalski, 2003) linking those with resources with those in need; they may also connect people with common needs and desires. Economic inequities need not result in unequal relationships when people are united by a common vision. Each individual and every organization has the ability to influence the realization of that vision and the contributions of each enhance and expand those of others. In practice, ideal reciprocity is performed with love of self, others, and/or G-d and



in the context of mutual support and common goals. Each altruistic act encourages others to respond accordingly by aligning their intention and action with their true purpose and sharing that gift with others. This contributes to ever more ambitious manifestations of human and community potential. By developing equitable, respectful, understanding, and responsive relationships with donors, fundraisers can encourage them to enthusiastically engage others thereby increasing the social and economic capital of the organization and the community served. Ideal reciprocity will not work for every person or in every situation. Because decisions are often based on habit, and the nonprofit sector has overwhelmingly pursued zero-sum or even negative-sum reciprocal relationships, ideal reciprocity represents a shift in both practice and understanding. There may always be people who prefer economic transactions to symbolic – and real -- transformations. Yet, this concept has the potential to transform the nonprofit sector from one that sincerely attempts to solve problems to one that creates vibrant communities. Conclusion . By understanding how reciprocity is framed and experienced according to multiple disciplines and perspectives, fundraising professionals can effectively respond to the needs of, and build meaning relationships with, donors. Much of the literature limits reciprocity to practices to maintain the status quo. Ideal reciprocity, within the context of development in nonprofit organizations, is an alternative understanding of reciprocity as it promotes social advancement rather than social stagnation. While it is not widely understood or practiced, and may be resisted by some, ideal reciprocity does



have potential to enhance some relationships between organizations and donors.



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