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Daylight Saving Time Switchover Negatively Affects Fundraising, Study Says

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If the collection plate at church seems a little light this Sunday, this could be a contributing factor: People who haven’t had enough sleep, including those who have “lost” an hour due to the spring daylight saving time switchover, are both less kind and less generous, according to a study published in the scientific journal PLOS Biology.

In fact, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found, the switch to daylight saving time contributes to a 10% decline in money donated to charities in the subsequent week, Philanthropy Today reported.

Researchers led by Eti Ben Simon based their findings on an analysis of data gathered from DonorsChoose about the weeks before and after the daylight saving time change in the years 2001 to 2016. The 10% drop in giving was observed in places where people lost an hour of sleep. In places where they didn’t, there was no change in donation levels.

There was no correlated rebound or any significant effect on giving when people returned to standard time in the fall.

Researchers also studied the effect of a full night of sleep deprivation and a night of poor-quality sleep.

“All of these studies pointed to the same result: that people are less interested in helping other people, they’re less generous, following lack of sleep,” Ben Simon told PT.

David Hessekiel, president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, said that since the decline only appeared to be for a short amount of time, fundraisers can easily avoid planning campaigns or events during that week.

And about the kindness factor: Ben Simon said it’s also important to remember that fundraisers might be crabby about being deprived of an hour of sleep as well, and that constitutes another good reason to postpone a fundraising campaign until after everyone has adjusted.

Don’t forget to “spring forward” on Sunday so you’re not late for church!

Main photo: Unsplash / Creative Commons

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.