The recent fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris resulted in an immediate and dramatic outpouring of philanthropic support. But was it the correct response? Were these dollars well-spent? Were motives pure?

One essayist shared an interesting take:

People’s engagement with issues tends to be driven by their values and passions. Giving is shaped by the many different and connected parts of human psychology, and Notre-Dame was a classic example of giving driven by emotion (and, in the case of certain French billionaires, a healthy dose of ego). The fire was a blow to a collective French identity rooted in a distant, romanticized past, and the immediate outpouring of support for restoring the cathedral to its former glory was a way to stand in solidarity with that past and make oneself feel good in the bargain.

It’s generally understood, however, that we don’t always make our best decisions when responding out of emotion….and that maybe, in times of crisis or in response to a disaster, we should pause and try to be more thoughtful about our response — or let an algorithm make such decisions for us.

Human emotion is of course a crucial (if flawed) aspect of giving, but it is not the only thing that should influence our decision making.

Read the rest here.

We all know that emotion drives philanthropy more than logic does, but what’s the correct balance? How much does reason play a role in our giving decisions? Is knee-jerk philanthropy a bad thing? Comment below and join the conversation.