Corporate Reputation Review

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 159–170 | Cite as

When Reputation Influences Trust in Nonprofit Organizations. The Role of Value Attachment as Moderator

  • Christian SchultzEmail author
  • Sabine Einwiller
  • Jens Seiffert-Brockmann
  • Wolfgang Weitzl
Original Article


The research assesses the role of reputation to influence trusting beliefs in nonprofit organizations and to generate supportive behavior, i.e., donating, volunteering and defending against criticism, depending on people’s value attachment with the organization. To test the theoretical model, a telephone survey was conducted among a representative sample of the Swiss public (N = 583) regarding eight fundraising charitable organizations. Results show that reputation, conceptualized as a multidimensional construct comprising the cognitive assessment of an organization’s utility, management and public perception, engendered trusting beliefs, which are the antecedents of supportive behavioral intentions. This relationship between reputation and trusting beliefs was moderated by a person’s value attachment with an organization: when value attachment was low there was a stronger impact of reputation on trust in the organization than when value attachment was high. The study sheds light on the moderating role of value attachment for the relationship between reputation and trust and extends the body of research on what drives people’s support for nonprofit organizations.


Nonprofit sector Reputation Trust Values Volunteering Donor behavior 



The research was supported by a grant from the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), Switzerland.


  1. Aaker, J., K.D. Vohs, and C. Mogilner. 2010. Nonprofits are sees as warm and for-profits as competent: Firm stereotypes matter. Journal of Consumer Research 37 (2): 224–237.Google Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50 (2): 179–211.Google Scholar
  3. Andreasen, A.R., and P.R. Kotler. 2008. Strategic marketing for nonprofit organizations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Andreoni, J. 2006. Philanthropy. In Handbook of giving, reciprocity, and altruism, ed. L.-A. Gerard-Varet, S.-C. Kolm, and J.M. Ythier, 1201–1269. North-Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  5. Anheier, H.K. 2005. Nonprofit organizations: Theory, management, policy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Anheier, H.K., and L.M. Salamon. 1999. Volunteering in cross-national perspective: Initial comparisons. Law and Contemporary Problems 62 (4): 43–65.Google Scholar
  7. Arbuckle, J.L. 2010. AMOS. Chicago: SPSS.Google Scholar
  8. Bagozzi, R.P., and L.W. Phillips. 1982. Representing and testing organizational theories: A holistic construal. Administrative Science Quarterly 27 (3): 459–489.Google Scholar
  9. Bagozzi, R.P., and Y. Yi. 1988. On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 16 (1): 74–94.Google Scholar
  10. Bagozzi, R.P., Y. Yi, and L.W. Phillips. 1991. Assessing construct validity in organizational research. Administrative Science Quarterly 36 (3): 421–458.Google Scholar
  11. Barnett, M.L., J. Jermier, and B.A. Lafferty. 2006. Corporate reputation: The definitional landscape. Corporate Reputation Review 9 (1): 26–38.Google Scholar
  12. Barret, W.P. 2014. The largest charities in America. Accessed 10 February 2017.
  13. Beck, U., and E. Beck-Gernsheim. 2002. Individualization: Institutionalized individualism and its social and political consequences. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Bekkers, R. 2003. Trust, accreditation, and philanthropy in the Netherlands. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 32 (4): 596–615.Google Scholar
  15. Bekkers, R., and P. Wiepking. 2011. A literature review of empirical studies of philanthropy: Eight mechanisms that drive charitable giving. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 40 (5): 924–973.Google Scholar
  16. Ben-Ner, A. 1994. Who benefits from the nonprofit sector? Reforming law and public policy towards nonprofit organizations: Book review of “Who benefits from the nonprofit sector? Edited by Charles T. Clotfelter. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1992. The Yale Law Journal 104 (3): 731–762.Google Scholar
  17. Bennett, R. 2003. Factors underlying the inclination to donate to particular types of charity. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 8 (1): 12–29.Google Scholar
  18. Bennett, R., and H. Gabriel. 2003. Image and reputational characteristics of UK charitable organizations: An empirical study. Corporate Reputation Review 6 (3): 276–289.Google Scholar
  19. Bollen, K.A. 1989. Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Bortree, D. 2011. Mediating the power of antecedents in public relationships: A pilot study. Public Relations Review 37 (1): 44–49.Google Scholar
  21. Broom, G.M., S. Casey, and J. Ritchey. 1997. Toward a concept and theory of organization-public relationships. Journal of Public Relations Research 9 (2): 83–98.Google Scholar
  22. Bryant, W.K., H. Jeon-Slaughter, H. Kang, and A. Tax. 2003. Participation in philanthropic activities: Donating money and time. Journal of Consumer Policy 26 (1): 43–73.Google Scholar
  23. Byrne, B.M. 2009. Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. New York: Routledge Academic.Google Scholar
  24. Cheung, G.W., and R.B. Rensvold. 2002. Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal 9 (2): 233–255.Google Scholar
  25. Chiles, T.H., and J.F. McMackin. 1996. Integrating variable risk references, trust, and transaction cost economics. Academy of Management Review 21 (1): 73–99.Google Scholar
  26. Dirks, K.T., and D.L. Ferrin. 2001. The role of trust in organizational settings. Organization Science 12 (4): 450–467.Google Scholar
  27. Doney, P.M., and J.P. Cannon. 1997. An examination of the nature of trust in buyer-seller relationships. Journal of Marketing 61 (2): 35–51.Google Scholar
  28. Eckstein, S. 2001. Community as gift giving: Collectivistic roots of volunteerism. American Sociological Review 66 (6): 829–851.Google Scholar
  29. Einwiller, S.A. 2003. When reputation engenders trust: An investigation in business-to-consumer electronic commerce. Electronic Markets: The International Journal of Electronic Commerce 13 (3): 196–209.Google Scholar
  30. Einwiller, S.A., A. Fedorikhin, A.R. Johnson, and M.A. Kamins. 2006. Enough is enough! When identification no longer prevents negative corporate associations. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 34 (2): 185–194.Google Scholar
  31. Fisher Liu, B. 2012. Toward a better understanding of nonprofit communication management. Journal of Communication Management 16 (4): 388–404.Google Scholar
  32. Fornell, C., and D.F. Larcker. 1981. Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research 18 (1): 39–50.Google Scholar
  33. Furneaux, C., and W. Wymer. 2015. Public trust in Australian charities: Accounting for cause and effect. Third Sector Review 21 (2): 99–127.Google Scholar
  34. Ganesan, S. 1994. Determinants of long-term orientation in buyer-seller relationships. Journal of Marketing 58 (2): 1–19.Google Scholar
  35. Gecas, V. 2000. Value identities, self-motives, and social movements. In Value identities, self-motives, and social movements, ed. S. Stryker, T. Owens, and R. White, 93–109. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  36. Granovetter, M. 1985. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology 91 (3): 481–510.Google Scholar
  37. Hair, J.F., B. Black, B. Babin, R.E. Anderson, and R.L. Tatham. 2006. Multivariate data analysis, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  38. Handy, F. 1995. Reputation as collateral. An economic analysis of the role of trustees of nonprofits. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 24 (4): 293–305.Google Scholar
  39. Hankinson, P. 2000. Brand orientation in charity organizations: Qualitative research into key charity sectors. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 5 (3): 207–219.Google Scholar
  40. Haski-Leventhal, D., L.C.P.M. Meijs, and L. Hustinx. 2010. The third party model: Enhancing volunteering through governments, corporations and educational institutes. Journal of Social Policy 39 (1): 139–158.Google Scholar
  41. Helmig, B., V. Hinz, and S. Ingerfurth. 2015. Valuing organizational values: Assessing the uniqueness of non-profit values. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 26 (6): 2554–2580.Google Scholar
  42. Hon, L.C., and J.E. Grunig. 1999. Measuring relationships in public relations. Gainsville, FL: Institute for Public Relations.Google Scholar
  43. Hustinx, L. 2001. Individualisation and new styles of youth volunteering: An empirical exploration. Voluntary Action 3 (2): 57–76.Google Scholar
  44. Hustinx, L. 2010. I quit, therefore I am? Volunteer turnover and the politics of self-actualization. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 39 (2): 236–255.Google Scholar
  45. Hustinx, L., and F. Lammertyn. 2003. Collective and reflexive styles of volunteering: A sociological modernization perspective. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 14 (2): 167–187.Google Scholar
  46. Hustinx, L., and L.C.P.M. Meijs. 2003. Re-embedding volunteerism: In search of a new collective ground. Voluntary Sector Review 2 (1): 5–21.Google Scholar
  47. Johnson-George, C., and W.C. Swap. 1982. Measurement of specific interpersonal trust: Construction and validation of a scale to assess trust in a specific other. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43 (6): 1306–1317.Google Scholar
  48. Kang, M. 2016. Moderating effects of identification on volunteer engagement. Journal of Communication Management 20 (2): 102–117.Google Scholar
  49. Krashinsky, M. 1997. Stakeholder theories of the non-profit sector: One cut at the economic literature. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 8 (2): 149–161.Google Scholar
  50. Kunda, Z. 1990. The case for motivated reasoning. Psychological Bulletin 108 (3): 480–498.Google Scholar
  51. Lee, S.M. 1971. An empirical analysis of organizational identification. The Academy of Management Journal 14 (2): 213–226.Google Scholar
  52. Lewicki, R.L., and B.B. Bunker. 1996. Developing and maintaining trust in work relationships. In Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research, ed. R.M. Kramer and T.R. Tyler, 114–139. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  53. McKnight, D.H., and N.L. Chervany. 2001. What trust means in e-commerce customer relationships: An interdisciplinary conceptual typology. International Journal of Electronic Commerce 6 (2): 35–59.Google Scholar
  54. Meijer, M.-M. 2009. The effects of charity reputation on charitable giving. Corporate Reputation Review 12 (1): 33–42.Google Scholar
  55. Mishina, Y., E.S. Block, and M.J. Mannor. 2012. The path dependence of organizational reputation: How social judgement influences assessments of capability and character. Strategic Management Journal 33 (5): 459–477.Google Scholar
  56. Mitchell, V.-W. 1999. Consumer perceived risk: Conceptualisations and models. European Journal of Marketing 33 (1/2): 163–195.Google Scholar
  57. Money, K., A. Saraeva, I. Garnelo-Gomez, and C. Hillenbrand. 2017. Corporate reputation past and future: A review and integration of existing literature and a framework for future research. Corporate Reputation Review 20 (3): 193–211.Google Scholar
  58. Morgan, R.M., and S.D. Hunt. 1994. The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing. Journal of Marketing 58 (3): 20–38.Google Scholar
  59. Morris, S.A., B.R. Bartkus, M. Glassman, and G.S. Rhiel. 2013. Philantrophy and corporate reputation: An empirical investigation. Corporate Reputation Review 16 (4): 285–299.Google Scholar
  60. Porter, L.W., R.M. Steers, R.T. Mowday, and P.V. Boulian. 1974. Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover among psychiatric technicians. Journal of Applied Psychology 59 (5): 603–609.Google Scholar
  61. Rokeach, M. 1973. The nature of human values. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  62. Rothschild, J., and C. Milofsky. 2006. The centrality of values, passions, and ethics in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit Management and Leadership 17 (2): 137–143.Google Scholar
  63. Rousseau, D.M., S.B. Sitkin, R.S. Burt, and C. Camerer. 1998. Not so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust. Academy of Management Review 23 (3): 393–404.Google Scholar
  64. Salamon, L.M., and S.W. Sokolowski. 2004. Global civil society: Dimensions of the nonprofit sector. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian.Google Scholar
  65. Sargeant, A. 1999. Charitable giving: Towards a model of donor behavior. Journal of Marketing Management 15 (4): 215–238.Google Scholar
  66. Sargeant, A., and S. Lee. 2002. Improving public trust in the voluntary sector: An empirical analysis. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 7 (1): 68–83.Google Scholar
  67. Sargeant, A., and S. Lee. 2004. Donor trust and relationship commitment in the UK charity sector: The impact on behavior. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 33 (2): 185–202.Google Scholar
  68. Sargeant, A., J.B. Ford, and J. Hudson. 2008. Charity brand personality: The relationship with giving behavior. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 37 (3): 468–491.Google Scholar
  69. Sargeant, A., J.B. Ford, and D.C. West. 2006. Perceptual determinants of nonprofit giving behavior. Journal of Business Research 59 (2): 155–165.Google Scholar
  70. Sargeant, A., D.C. West, and J.B. Ford. 2004. Does perception matter?: An empirical analysis of donor behavior. The Service Industries Journal 24 (6): 19–36.Google Scholar
  71. Sarstedt, M., and M.P. Schloderer. 2010. Developing a measurement approach for reputation of non-profit organizations. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 15 (3): 276–299.Google Scholar
  72. Schultz, C. 2015. Vertrauen und Unterstützung durch Reputation. Eine Untersuchung von spendensammelnden Nonprofit-Organisationen. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  73. Schwartz, S.H., and W. Bilsky. 1990. Toward a theory of the universal content and structure of values: Extensions and cross-cultural replications. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 58 (5): 878–891.Google Scholar
  74. Simon, A.F. 1997. Television news and international earthquake relief. Journal of Communication 47 (3): 82–93.Google Scholar
  75. Stride, H. 2006. An investigation into the values dimensions of branding: Implications for the charity sector. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 11 (2): 115–124.Google Scholar
  76. Taniguchi, H., and G.A. Marshall. 2014. The effects of social trust and institutional trust on formal volunteering and charitable giving in Japan. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 25 (1): 150–175.Google Scholar
  77. Taylor, S., and P.A. Todd. 1995. Understanding information technology usage: A test of competing models. Information Systems Research 6 (2): 144–176.Google Scholar
  78. Van der Merwe, A.W., and G. Puth. 2014. Towards a conceptual model of the relationship between corporate trust and corporate reputation. Corporate Reputation Review 17 (2): 138–156.Google Scholar
  79. Voss, G., D.M. Cable, and Z.G. Voss. 2000. Linking organizational values to relationships with external constituents: A study of nonprofit professional theatres. Organization Science 11 (3): 330–347.Google Scholar
  80. Walker, K. 2010. A systematic review of the corporate reputation literature: Definition, measurement, and theory. Corporate Reputation Review 12 (4): 357–387.Google Scholar
  81. Waters, R.D. 2008. Applying relationship management theory to the fundraising process for individual donors. Journal of Communication Management 12 (1): 73–87.Google Scholar
  82. Weigelt, K., and C. Camerer. 1988. Reputation and corporate strategy: A review of recent theory and applications. Strategic Management Journal 9 (5): 443–454.Google Scholar
  83. Williams, M. 2001. In whom we trust: Group membership as an affective context for trust development. Academy of Management Review 26 (3): 377–396.Google Scholar
  84. Wohlgemuth, C., and G. Bentele. 2012. Die Vertrauenskrise des deutschen Komitees für UNICEF – Eine Fallstudie zum Verlust öffentlichen Vertrauens im NGO-Bereich. In Kommunikationsmanagement, Strategien, Wissen, Lösungen, vol. 6.33, ed. G. Bentele, M. Piwinger, and G. Schönborn, 1–29. Neuwied: Luchterhand.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Reputation Institute and Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Schultz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabine Einwiller
    • 2
  • Jens Seiffert-Brockmann
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Weitzl
    • 2
  1. 1.Bern University of Applied SciencesBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations