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

See all articles by Karen Page Winterich

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics

Julie R. Irwin

University of Texas - McCombs School of Business

Date Written: May 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Winterich, Karen Page and Reczek, Rebecca Walker and Irwin, Julie R., Keeping the Memory but Not the Possession: Memory Preservation Mitigates Identity Loss from Product Disposition (May 2017). Journal of Marketing, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2980956

Karen Page Winterich (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Rebecca Walker Reczek

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Marketing and Logistics ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
538 Fisher Hall
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Julie R. Irwin

University of Texas - McCombs School of Business ( email )

Business,Government and Society Department
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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