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Increasing charitable donation intentions with preliminary importance ratings

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Abstract

In the question-behavior effect (QBE), making a prediction about one’s behavior moves the behavior in the direction of the prediction. The current experiments explore the use of preliminary questions to increase the pro-social nature of such behavior predictions in both charitable giving and charitable bequests. Initially requesting importance ratings of charitable causes – as compared with simply referencing the charitable causes – significantly increased subsequent donation and bequest intentions to related charities. Requesting additional importance ratings for specific projects of named charities significantly increased subsequent cause importance ratings and donation and bequest intentions for both named and similar unnamed charities. Preliminary importance rating questions were also more effective than otherwise similar preliminary donation intention questions, potentially because of the non-monetary nature and greater malleability of importance ratings. Rather than merely revealing a fixed, underlying donative intent, these results suggest that the elicitation process can alter underlying donation intentions.

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Notes

  1. The Nature Conservancy (Environment A), The World Wildlife Fund (Environment B), The American Cancer Society (Cancer A), The National Breast Cancer Foundation (Cancer B), A local animal shelter (Animal A), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal B), UNICEF (International A), CARE (International B), Boys and Girls Clubs of America (Youth A), The YMCA or YWCA (Youth B).

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Correspondence to Russell N. James III.

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James, R.N. Increasing charitable donation intentions with preliminary importance ratings. Int Rev Public Nonprofit Mark 15, 393–411 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12208-018-0206-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12208-018-0206-6

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