An Empathy-Helping Perspective on Consumers' Responses to Fund-Raising Appeals
The research examines viewers' actual responses to four televised fund-raising drives by a public television station over a 2-year period. The 584 pledge breaks we studied contain 4,868 individual appeals that were decomposed into two underlying dimensions based on the empathy-helping hypothesis: the appeal beneficiary (self versus other) and emotional valence (positive versus negative). We find that the most effective fund-raising appeals communicate the benefits to others rather than to the self and evoke negative rather than positive emotions. Appeals that emphasize benefits to the self significantly reduce the number of calls to the station, particularly when they have a positive emotional valence. (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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