Track 1: Spending Money
Eesha Sharma (San Diego State University)

1B. Charitable Giving

Friday, March 4
11:15am – 12:45pm EST
Discussant: Deborah Small (University of Pennsylvania)
MC: Kirk Kristofferson (Western University)
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Student Coordinator: Elina Hur (Cornell University) (

Competitive Papers

Tainted Donations
Authors: Emily Prinsloo (Harvard Business School, Harvard University), Jimin Nam (Harvard Business School, Harvard University), Elizabeth Keenan (Harvard Business School)
Presenting Author: Emily Prinsloo (Harvard Business School, Harvard University)
We find that donors penalize charities that have received donations from tainted donors (e.g., donors who have transgressed), by assigning less moral credit, endowing less trust, and indicating lower donation likelihood. This penalization occurs even when the donor’s tainted behavior occurred after the donation and persists across donation amounts and types (e.g., monetary vs. non-monetary). Our results further suggest charities are penalized because they are perceived as inauthentic. Finally, the penalization can be mitigated if charities highlight that the donation will “do good,” or if charities engage in rebound strategies such as forwarding the donation to a different charity.
Alleviating Risk Aversion to Uncertain Impact Donations
Authors: Shoshana Segal (New York University), Joshua Lewis (New York University)
Presenting Author: Shoshana Segal (New York University)
Organizations raising funds for sustainable solutions to today’s issues face a major problem: donations to their causes are inherently risky in impact, and potential donors are widely risk averse. This risk aversion leads donors to prefer certain impact charities, which often do not enact change on a systematic level. In four studies (N=4,616), we show that consumers are more likely to donate funds to uncertain high-impact charities (versus certain lower-impact charities) when they make donation decisions in a broad-bracketed (versus narrow-bracketed) context, which reduces the perceived stakes of the risky impact.
The Competence Curse: Misattribution of Needs Explains Why Donors Fail to Reward Effective Charity Management
Authors: Lijun (Shirley) Zhang (Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University), Thomas Allard (Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University), David Hardisty (University of British Columbia), Xin (Shane) Wang (Ivey Business School)
Presenting Author: Lijun (Shirley) Zhang (Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University)
Although the effective altruism movement recommends donating to charities that maximize impact per dollar, people often focus on donating to charities that seem to need the most. This research highlights a bias stemming from this focus-on-need where donors end up donating less to high-competence charities—effectively penalizing good management practices in non-profits—because they assume that these organizations need less help than low-competence charities. This failure to reward effective management, stemming from misattributing the charity's needs as end-users', is reduced when people make for-profit fund allocation decisions, concentrate on the end-users' needs, or realize their limited understanding of charity management.
Overhead as Investment: Reducing Overhead Aversion By Highlighting How Overhead Helps Raise Funds
Authors: Amanda Geiser (University of California, Berkeley), Joshua Lewis (New York University)
Presenting Author: Amanda Geiser (University of California, Berkeley)
Overhead aversion is a major problem for non-profits. Donors dislike funding overhead themselves, but overhead costs are vital for organizations' survival. We demonstrate that framing overhead to highlight a causal link between overhead expenditure and generating new donations (e.g., “for every 30 cents spent on overhead we raised a dollar”) reduces overhead aversion compared to framing overhead in terms of the amount spent per dollar raised (e.g., "we spent 30% of every dollar raised on overhead" or “we spent 30 cents of every dollar raised on overhead”), even though these frames convey equivalent information. When overhead costs are framed as an investment that brings in additional donations, donors are less likely to view any overhead expenditure as a loss relative to a reference point of no overhead. Thus, they rate charities as more efficient, give more overall, and are more willing to fund overhead costs themselves.

Flash Talks

Thank You Too Much - When Thanking Hinders Prosocial Behavior
Authors: Renato Regis (Vienna University of Economics and Business), Bernadette Kamleitner (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
Presenting Author: Renato Regis (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
Literature suggests that being thanked motivates subsequent prosocial behavior, however, it fails to address variations in the way a thank-you is expressed and variations in the behaviors people thank each other for. We focus on the intensity with which people thank each other for behaviors that they did for more than prosocial reasons (e.g. participating in a bonus point study). We propose and find that, in these situations an intense thank-you can demotivate, rather than motivate subsequent prosocial behavior. Our argument is that being thanked intensely elevates the morality of the act and thus induces moral licensing.
Letting You Choose Me: Empowering Victims Through Choice Impacts Donor Charitable Support
Authors: Zuzanna Jurewicz (Ivey Business School, Western University), Kirk Kristofferson (Ivey Business School, Western University)
Presenting Author: Zuzanna Jurewicz (Ivey Business School, Western University)
We investigate the effects of empowering victims through choice (i.e., allowing victims to choose donors) on donors' program support. Using an elaborate longitudinal study in the guise of a pen-pals program with local seniors, we show that participants who are chosen by a senior (vs. choose a senior) experience increased affiliative feelings, which drive immediate program support and long-term commitment. Two additional studies provide evidence of this process and of a negative indirect effect through decreased free will.


When and Why Process Imagery Can Increase Donation Intentions
Authors: Josh Lundberg (University of Kentucky), John Peloza (University of Kentucky), Adam Craig (University of Kentucky)
Presenting Author: Josh Lundberg (University of Kentucky)
Year-over-year, charitable donations in the US continue to increase. Evidently consumers are interesting in seeing change in their world and marketers of charitable organizations are thus tasked with communicating that their organization can effect such change. In this inquiry we contribute to the sequential image literature by showing that such imagery can be used to affect perceptions of organizational efficacy, increasing consumers' willingness to donate. Further, we find that this managerial tool may not be suitable for all charitable organizations, according to their repute on the marketplace.
The Role of Perceived Risk and Device Type in Online Crowdfunding Decisions
Authors: Sorim Chung (Rochester Institute of Technology), Maria Karampela (University of Strathclyde)
Presenting Author: Sorim Chung (Rochester Institute of Technology)
We investigate the impact of investors’ device type on online crowdfunding decisions. The findings demonstrate that investors on a PC (vs. smartphone) perceive higher risk in their investment, which then lowers their willingness to invest, and this negative indirect effect is stronger in temporally-distant or socially-distant conditions.
Instant Karma: The Role of Karmic-investment Mindset in Charitable Giving
Authors: Xunyue Xue (Penn State University), Anna Mattila (Penn State University)
Presenting Author: Xunyue Xue (Penn State University)
Karma - the implicit belief that the universe rewards good deeds and punishes wrongdoings – resonates with many individuals’ prosocial behaviors. However, there is limited research investigating how karma beliefs, along with various donation elements, affect donation intention. Therefore, this research examines two donation elements: donation type and donation source. Three experiments indicate that individuals with strong (vs. weak) karma beliefs, either chronical (Study 1) or situationally activated (Study 2), perceive in-kind (vs. monetary) donations as more sincere, thus leading to greater donation intention. Moreover, karma believers are more likely to donate windfall income than earned income (Study 3).
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