Does an Individualist Mindset Lead to More Charitable Donations?
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Series/Report no.:2017 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. 22nd
Despite the growing amount of research on charitable giving, researchers still do not agree on why people donate. Do they donate for selfish incentives, such as to feel good about themselves, or for purely altruistic reasons associated with improving the world? Literature has discussed the theory of impure altruism, that is to say, a donor’s intentions for giving cannot be purely altruistic because of the “warm-glow” they experience. This warm-glow is an individualist reward for giving, rather than the traditional thoughts that giving is done simply to help those in need. The goal of this study is to understand whether people will donate more time and/or money to a charitable organization when they are in an individualist mindset, rather than a collectivist mindset. The experiment takes the form of a 2 (prime: collectivist vs. individualist) by 2 (question: money-ask first vs. time-ask first) survey design. Consistent with past research experiments, participants were randomly primed to adopt either a collectivistic mental orientation by reading a paragraph and circling pronouns like “we” and “us”, or to adopt an individualistic mental orientation by reading a similar paragraph and circling pronouns like “I” and “me.” Preliminary results show that there is a statistically significant difference between the two conditions. Those primed in the individualist condition were significantly more willing to donate to the charity than those primed in the collectivist condition. This finding shows that perhaps the leading factor for charitable donations has to do with people trying to fulfill their own needs to feel good about themselves. Findings from this study will improve general understanding of the incentives for nonprofit giving. It will also be of value to nonprofit organizations to understand how to target their message to potential donors, as nonprofit organizations cite that soliciting donations is their most challenging objective.
Business/Education and Human Ecology/Speech and Hearing Science: 1st Place (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)
Academic Major: Marketing