Towards a model of donor behaviour relating to mental disability charities

Bennett, Roger and Vijaygopal, Rohini (2019). Towards a model of donor behaviour relating to mental disability charities. Social Business, 9(3) pp. 248–271.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1362/204440819X15633617555858

Abstract

Purpose
This paper extends and develops pre-existing "general" models of donor behaviour in order to create a fresh model useful for charities concerned with mental disability.
Design/methodology/approach
A comprehensive list of variables with the potential to influence donors' behaviour relating to mental disability charities was assembled and then shortened via a random forest regression. Critical variables emerging from the regression were used to construct and test a model designed to predict donors' willingness to give to a mental disability charity.
Findings
Certain variables commonly found in general models of giving (e.g., altruism, self-congruence) plus some variables specific to mental disability (e.g., stigmatic stereotyping, "protest" advertising) significantly affected willingness to donate.
Research limitations/implications
The study employed random forest regression to identify "important" variables. Alternative approaches might have revealed relevant variables not covered by the present study. Donation intention rather than actual giving was examined.
Practical implications
Mental disability charities need to frame their fundraising appeals in particular ways. "Protest" messages, social norms and self-congruity should be emphasised in campaigns.
Social implications
Effective fundraising undertaken by the UK's (numerous) mental disability charities will generate the funds necessary for charities of this type to expand and improve their services to beneficiaries.
Originality/value
The research presents a fundraising model specifically relevant to mental disability. It contributes to knowledge vis-à-vis fundraising for unpopular causes and lays down a framework for future research.

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