When Does Recognition Increase Charitable Behavior? Toward a Moral Identity-Based Model
Journal of Marketing: Vol. 77, No. 3, pp. 121-134, Forthcoming
14 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013
Date Written: May 6, 2013
Each year, individuals in the United States donate over $200 billion to charitable causes. To motivate donors, charities offer donors recognition, even though it is not well understood if and how recognition increases charitable behavior. This research focuses on how the effectiveness of recognition on charitable behavior is dependent on the joint influence of two distinct dimensions of moral identity — internalization and symbolization (Aquino and Reed 2002). Three studies examining both monetary donations and volunteering behavior show recognition increases charitable behavior among those characterized by high moral identity symbolization and low moral identity internalization. Interestingly, those who are high in moral identity internalization are uninfluenced by recognition. By understanding correlates of the two dimensions of moral identity among its donor base, nonprofits can strategically recognize potential donors to maximize donation and volunteering behavior.
Keywords: charitable behavior, recognition, moral identity, symbolization, social reinforcement
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