Keeping the Memory but Not the Possession: Memory Preservation Mitigates Identity Loss from Product Disposition
Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming
66 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017
Date Written: May 2017
The reliance on donations to build inventory distinguishes nonprofits from traditional retailers. This reliance on consumer donations means these organization face an inherently more volatile supply chain than retailers who source inventory from manufacturers. The authors propose that consumer reluctance to part with possessions with sentimental value causes a specific bottleneck in the donation process. The goal of this research is therefore to provide nonprofits with tools to increase donations of used goods and provide a theoretical link between the literatures on prosocial behavior, disposition, memory, and identity. As such, the authors explore the effectiveness of memory preservation strategies (e.g., taking a photo of a good before donating it) in increasing donations to nonprofits. A field study using a donation drive demonstrates that encouraging consumers to take photos of sentimental possessions before donating them increases donations, while five laboratory experiments explicate this result by mapping the proposed psychological process behind the success of memory preservation techniques. Specifically, these techniques operate by ameliorating perceived identity loss when considering donation of sentimental goods.
Keywords: Nonprofit Marketing, Donation, Memory, Identity, Product Disposition
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