News Office | ILLINOIS


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Charitable fundraising remains a major challenge for nonprofits, with many charities unable to secure and maintain the necessary funding to provide their services. Marketers, in turn, are constantly looking for new and more effective ways to solicit donations, including through non-traditional approaches and fundraising events – ice cream, silent auctions, quiz nights and others – to engage potential donors.

New research co-authored by an Urbana-Champaign expert at the University of Illinois in new product development and marketing shows that engaging potential donors in creative endeavors can positively influence their propensity to donate. money to a charitable cause.

Participation in creative activities such as drawing or decorating cookies in support of a charitable cause induces a sense of empowerment in the participants, which leads to a positive emotional state, resulting in ‘giving behaviors’. improved ”- meaning a greater likelihood of donating to the cause and a larger amount donated, said Ravi Mehta, professor of business administration at Gies College of Business in Illinois.

“We have found that when we engage people in creative tasks – and these may be somewhat related or totally unrelated to the mission of the charity – they give more money,” Mehta said, also. member of Shebik Centennial faculty.

The work was motivated by the struggle that charities often grapple with to discover effective and innovative ways to solicit new donations and inspire current donors to continue their generosity, Mehta said.

“Charities are constantly looking for new and more effective ways to engage potential donors in order to secure the resources needed to deliver their services,” he said. “This document demonstrates that creative activities are a way for marketers to meet this challenge. We believe that this research will have substantial implications for understanding how creativity can affect subsequent behavior, and how marketers and advertisers can incorporate creative activities into fundraising efforts, charity events, and campaigns. social media as a viable fundraising strategy.

A pilot study with a nonprofit organization registered in the United States and four subsequent lab and field experiments involving art and design activities such as decorating cookies, designing t-shirts, and coloring demonstrated that having potential donors engaging in a creative activity improves the participant’s “felt autonomy”, which in turn has led to an increase in giving behavior, according to the newspaper.

“We have further shown that the positive effect felt by the creator leads to improved giving behavior due to the perceived increased impact of donations,” Mehta said. “And these subsequent positive vibes also led to a desire for mood maintenance. In an effort to keep the resulting positive mood, people tended to give more.”

Creative activities can be implemented through social media platforms or in person at charity events and solicitations. But the effects only appear when the donor experiences the autonomy of their creative activity, Mehta said.

“The donor should participate in a creative activity where they have full control over the outcome – not when the activity is not creative like a 5 kilometer run, or when they feel they have no final say. on his creative act, “he said. noted.

It is important to note that the observed effects are context independent: they persist even when potential donors engage in creative activities unrelated to the central cause of the charity or charity itself. same, according to the document.

This explains why something like the Ice Bucket Challenge was so popular, Mehta said.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge illustrates our point perfectly: it has dramatically increased donations to the ALS Association by allowing people to have full creative control over something seemingly unrelated to the focal point or mission of the charitable organization, ”he said. “It was creative in that it allowed people to find their own unique way to dump the ice bucket on their heads – but what does that have to do with ALS? Nothing. And yet, it was a resounding success.

“When you give people that sense of empowerment in a creative endeavor, it improves their giving behavior, regardless of the charity itself or its mission. “

The article was published in the Journal of Marketing.

Mehta’s co-authors are Lidan Xu, University of North Texas, and Darren W. Dahl, University of British Columbia.


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