Donating to the one who stands representative of many. How adapting a practice-oriented perspective influences the inner workings of the identifiable victim effect
Past research has shown that people do not value lives consistently following a donation appeal, as they are able to stay relatively unmoved when faced with aggregated, statistical victims, but at the same time become extremely responsive to the needs of specific, identifiable victims. Although this “identifiable victim effect” is of particular interest to charitable organizations’ marketing campaigns, research has adapted a perspective that does not directly relate to these campaigns in practice. In this thesis, I therefore introduce a new perspective on the identifiable victim effect that is based directly on charitable organizations’ marketing campaigns, which I name the one-among-many identifiable victim approach. I research the identifiable victim effect’s inner workings by conducting an online experiment, in which participants are shown either one of two different donation appeals. Based on the results of a comprehensive partial least squares modeling analysis, it appears that using a more practice-based operationalization results in an adverse direction of the effect. People donate more to statistical victims than to identifiable victims. This effect is robust under any degree of lay rationalism.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen