The impact of multiple fundraising goals on charitable donations

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

The impact of multiple fundraising goals on charitable donations

 

Author: Yam, Yuen Man
Title: The impact of multiple fundraising goals on charitable donations
Degree: D.B.A.
Year: 2016
Subject: Fund raising.
Fund raising -- Management.
Charities.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Business
Pages: xiv, 113 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2929084
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8770
Abstract: Would it be better to have a single fundraising goal in a donation appeal, or would it be more effective to have multiple fundraising goals? This thesis uses the elaboration likelihood model to predict that the effectiveness of the number of fundraising goals depends on whether potential donors use the central or the peripheral route to process the appeal. When people use the peripheral route, it is better to have multiple fundraising goals in a donation appeal because more goals signal greater competence, which makes people less uncertain about how a charitable organization will use their donations. However, when people process the appeal more deeply using the central route, it does not matter whether the appeal uses one or multiple fundraising goals, as long as they are equal in strength. Whether the appeal is processed peripherally or centrally depends on the relevance of the donation appeal to the self. Self-irrelevant appeals are processed peripherally whereas self-relevant appeals are processed centrally.
Three experiments were conducted to test these predictions. Study 1 showed that using multiple fundraising goals in a donation appeal decreased the degree of uncertainty which participants felt about how the charity would use their donations, compared to when they read an appeal with only one fundraising goal. In study 2, it was demonstrated that having multiple (vs. single) fundraising goals in a donation appeal increased people's intentions to help, intentions to subscribe to an e-mail service from the charity, perceptions of importance of the fundraising goals and perceptions of the need of the charity. Moreover, the mediation analysis of study 2 revealed that uncertainty mediates the relationship between number of fundraising goals in an appeal and people's donation intentions. The relationship is such that as the number of goals increases, the degree of uncertainty decreases, and subsequently donation intentions increase. Lastly, study 3 demonstrated the role of self-relevance in this effect. When a donation appeal has low self-relevance, it is processed peripherally. In this case, potential donors use the number of fundraising goals as a cue for the charity's competence, which increases donation intentions. An appeal that has high self-relevance is processed centrally. When using central processing, potential donors focus on the content of the goals rather than the number of goals, and thus the number of fundraising goals loses its effect on people's donation intentions or such an effect is weakened. This study advances research on charitable donation by identifying a novel heuristic used in assessing donation appeals: potential donors believe that the more fundraising goals a charitable organization mentions, the more competent the organization is in terms of using people's donations. The second contribution of this research is that it extended the study context of the elaboration likelihood model. Although the elaboration likelihood model has been studied in a variety of contexts, the number of fundraising goals as a type of argument used in a persuasive message has never been investigated. The present study demonstrates that potential donors use the number of goals as a heuristic under peripheral processing in the same way that regular arguments are used in a generic persuasive message.

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