John Peloza’s Paper Accepted by the Journal of Marketing

Feb 16, 2009

Assistant Professor John Peloza’s paper co-authored with Katherine White titled “Self-Benefit Versus Other-Benefit Marketing Appeals: Their Effectiveness in Generating Charitable Support” was recently accepted by the Journal of Marketing.

The executive summary for the paper is as follows:
Despite growing competition for resources, government assistance, and consumer support, charities continue to provide numerous vital services, ranging from health care to housing to disaster relief. Increased need for charitable support has necessitated that non-profit organizations seek out the most effective ways to communicate their causes to consumers. But previous research has produced conflicting results to the question: Should charities motivate donors by using self-benefit appeals (i.e., providing arguments to demonstrate how donations can provide a return to the donor) or other-benefit appeals (i.e., providing arguments for the positive impacts on those who receive the help from donations). The current research investigates the conditions under which other-benefit (self-benefit) appeals will be more effective than self-benefit (other-benefit) appeals in influencing donation intentions and behaviors, and does so by examining the moderating role of public self-image concerns.

Across five studies, we find evidence for the efficacy of other-benefit appeals when the appeal and donation is made in a public setting. Conversely, we find evidence than self-benefit appeals can be more successful when made in private. We find evidence that the underlying mechanism behind these findings is the desire for consumers to impression manage, and adhere to prevailing norms. Because society general expects one to make donations out of concern for the recipient and not ones’ self, other-benefit appeals generally do well in public environments.

Our findings suggest that managers should match the way in which the donation is requested to the degree to which public self-image concerns will be activated in a given context. If the donation response is private, marketers should utilize appeals that highlight the benefits to be obtained by the donor. Likewise, if the donation response is more public in nature, marketers would do well to highlight the benefits to others. Indeed, charities often engage in relatively private (e.g., direct mail solicitations, appeals for donor support via the internet) and relatively public (e.g., special events, personal fundraising) fundraising and recruitment activities simultaneously. Our results suggest that non-profit marketers should not uniformly utilize one appeal across these different execution contexts, and should instead tailor the appeal to effectively match the setting.

Charities should also consider their abilities to provide benefits to donors and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. Appeal strategies should vary depending on the charity’s capabilities, with charities limited to other-benefit appeals (e.g., younger charities that lack prestige or highly desirable volunteer positions) pursuing more public donation appeals as opposed to direct mail, for example.

Established in 1936, Journal of Marketing (JM) has been the recognized leader in its field for more than seven decades. JM is positioned as the premier, broad-based, scholarly journal of the marketing discipline that focuses on substantive issues in marketing and marketing management.

For more information on Dr. Peloza’s research please follow this link.