The one word charities use that discourages donors
Newswise – COLUMBUS, Ohio – People would rather spend their money on a charitable cause than just give it away, according to a new study.
You might be wondering: what’s the difference? The answer is control.
The researchers found that donors feel like they have more control over their giving when they are told that they are actively spending their money for an important cause, rather than donating their money.
“The word ‘give’ can have a more negative connotation than ‘spend’ for donors. “Giving” highlights how you are separated from your money, which is unattractive,” said Selin Malkoc, study co-author and associate professor of marketing at the Fisher College of Business. Ohio State University.
“But ‘spending your money’ has a different connotation – it implies that you are still part of the money you provide to the charity.”
The findings were part of a larger study that looked at how donors felt about giving their time rather than their money to nonprofits. More than 2,700 people participated in seven related studies. The research was co-authored by John Costello of the University of Notre Dame and published online recently in the Consumer Research Journal.
Overall, the study found that people prefer to donate their time to nonprofits over their money because they feel more personal control over how their time is used, according to Malkoc.
“It is not possible to separate ourselves from our time, as we can from our money,” she said. “When you give of your time, it is always part of you. You are still living it.
The problem is that nonprofits generally prefer financial donations to time donations, she said. This new research suggests a way for charities to make giving money more attractive, by giving donors a sense of having more control over how their financial donations are used.
One of them is to use the language used by charities in appeals for donations.
In one study, online participants read an article about a COVID-19 fundraiser and were asked to imagine giving or spending time or money to benefit healthcare workers who needed life support equipment. Individual protection.
Participants were asked how much they would be willing to donate in dollars or hours to help with fundraising.
Those approached for a financial donation offered more than twice as much when asked to “spend” their money ($94) than when asked to “donate” their money ($40).
And here’s why: Participants were asked several questions that measured how much control they would feel over their donations. The results showed that people who were asked to spend their money said they felt more in control than those who were asked to give their money.
“Our findings suggest that charities should be asking people to spend their money on them, not giving it to them,” Malkoc said.
The importance of control was demonstrated in another study in which researchers told participants about an opportunity to donate time or money to a children’s hospital. But in this case, some participants were told that they would have control over how their volunteer time or donated money would be used.
When given control, people were almost equally interested in giving, whether it was time or money.
“If nonprofits gave more control over how donations are spent, or made donors feel like they were spending their money rather than giving it, that might alleviate some of the disconnect that people feel about financial donations.”
The researchers considered a variety of other factors that could have affected the results, but consistently found that people wanted control over how their time or money was used, Malkoc said.
Findings on how language affects people’s willingness to help have implications beyond simple charitable donations.
“Friends and family are more likely to want to help us with their time than their money,” Malkoc said.
“For most people, time is very valuable, in some cases more valuable than money. But when it comes to sharing the resource with others, they are more willing to give time (than money) because they feel in control of how it is used.