DAN Faculty in the News

Excerpt from Media Relations

Study unlocks why public appeals may fall flat with some would-be donors

It has long puzzled fundraisers why, in any appeal, some people will eagerly jump in with the throng while others equally passionate about the cause will reject the same pitch.

Now research led by Western researcher Bonnie Simpson is nearer to figuring out why some people are — and aren’t — motivated by public appeals, and how fundraisers might better tailor requests.

A new paper, “When Public Recognition for Charitable Giving Backfires: The Role of Independent Self-Construal” online in the Journal of Consumer Research, says people whose self-definition includes a strong streak of independence will sometimes balk because appeals seem too much like following the crowd.

“They see public appeals as social pressure calling them to be like everyone else who gives in a certain way and at a certain time. They see themselves as resisting the influence to act as others might expect them to,” said Simpson, Assistant Professor, Consumer Behaviour at Western’s DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies, and lead author of the study. “It’s not that they don’t want to give. They want to give, but more privately.”

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