Research shows charities losing out by not tailoring campaigns to social classes

Melanie May | 2 August 2017 | News

Charities are losing out on potential donations by not tailoring their campaigns to individual social classes, according to a research paper.
DaHee Han, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University and colleagues Ashok K. Lalwani and Adam Duhachek, considered individuals’ perception of their place in the social hierarchy and the degree to which they accept this.
They found that on the low end of the social scale, people are more likely to be moved by the need to help others, while people at higher social strata are more likely to react positively to ads that emphasise how good they will feel after giving.
In an article on the paper published in Charity Times, Han said:

“Although logic would suggest that those who perceive themselves as higher in the social hierarchy would be more likely to donate to charity, our research suggested the opposite. In fact, we found that people who consider themselves to be on lower societal levels are more inclined to give charitably in order to endorse societal equality.”

According to Han, this is because those lower in the social hierarchy tend to be more concerned about others and are therefore more motivated to help the less fortunate, while those at the top are more motivated by campaigns that communicate the benefit to themselves of helping others.
The research found that fundraising campaigns fail to consider donors’ motives and are therefore unable to appeal to them, missing out on donations as a result. In order to increase donations then, the research suggests that charities should pay more attention to the motivations and class of potential donors when planning advertising campaigns and target them at these demographics.

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