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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Consumers’ Cause-Related Donation Portfolios: Exploring How We Decide Whom and How Many We Support

Published: May 25, 2021


Anna Buchholz, Paderborn University, Chair of Service Management and Technology Marketing; Nancy Wünderlich, Paderborn University


Charities worldwide compete more than ever for donors' limited financial resources. Recent research suggests that consumers organize the charities to which they donate into a portfolio, rather than viewing donations in a fragmented way. Although the cause of a charity is one of the main drivers for donation behavior, research has not explored how consumers distribute donations across charities with their portfolios. We propose that the breadth of causes addressed by the charities (e.g., human needs, environmental issues, animal welfare) is a core variable of consumers’ portfolios and moral expansiveness, social responsibility, and demonstrable utility are its’ antecedents. Using data from an online questionnaire (n=3,180), we show that these drivers significantly impact breadth of causes and other characteristics of cause-related donation portfolios. Our study highlights the importance for non-profit marketers to consider portfolio drivers to design promotional tools.