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Gift or Donation? Increase the Effectiveness of Charitable Solicitation through Framing Charitable Giving as Gift

Gift or Donation? Increase the Effectiveness of Charitable Solicitation through Framing Charitable Giving as Gift

Phyllis Xue Wang, Yijie Wang and Yuwei Jiang

Teaching Insight:

The findings of this research provide substantive practical implications to policy makers, marketers, and charity organizations by identifying a quite simple and highly actionable strategy to promote charitable giving, that is framing charitable giving as gift rather donation.

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Digital Marketing; Marketing Analytics; Social Media Marketing

Full Citation:

Wang, Phyllis Xue, Yijie Wang, and Yuwei Jiang (2022), “Gift or Donation? Increase the Effectiveness of Charitable Solicitation through Framing Charitable Giving as Gift,” Journal of Marketing, https://doi.org/10.1177%2F00222429221081506.

Article Abstract:

The question of how to improve the effectiveness of charitable solicitation has long been a subject of investigation for charity organizations. Through six studies, including four incentive-compatible studies and a field study, the present research demonstrates an easy, actionable, and widely applicable semantic-framing strategy that can be utilized to promote charitable giving. Semantically framing charitable giving as gift (rather than donation) increases not only donors’ intention to contribute but also their actual amount of contribution (Studies 1–3). Both mediation (Study 4) and moderation (Study 5) approaches provide convergent evidence that the effect of framing charitable giving as gift rather than donation on contribution is driven by donors’ perceived social distance from beneficiaries. The authors further find that this framing effect is weakened when soliciting contributions from donors who see social distance as desirable (e.g., those with a high need for status; Study 6). The current work contributes to the literatures on charitable giving, social exchange, and semantic framing, and provides strong managerial implications for charity organizations.

Special thanks to Holly Howe and Demi Oba, PhD candidates at Duke University.

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Phyllis Xue Wang is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Renmin University of China, China.

Yijie Wang is Research Assistant Professor of Marketing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR.