Social Concerns and Willingness to Support Charities

Article excerpt

The market for charitable donations has its own functional systems. Well-known charities prevail by seeking donations and the competition can be intense. This study examines the factors affecting consumers' concerns about charitable donations and willingness to continue to support charities. Based on the results of this study, television and newspapers/magazines are major sources whence consumers gather charity information. The reputations of charities and the types of recipients are critical in gaining donors' trust to continue to support the organizations. How well the charities are managed financially is less of a concern. Donation intentions can be increased if more relevant information is available to potential donors.

Social services provided by charities have long been an essential function of societies. The existence of charities complements the deficiencies of bureaucratic welfare systems. Well-known charities prevail by seeking donations, and utilize marketing strategies to maintain the images of the organizations. Relatively small-scale charities often have difficulty in gathering sufficient financial support. In the market of charitable donations, competition is intense.

The motivations for donating to charities are diversified (Hibbert & Horne, 1997). Helping out with the poor and needy people is obvious. Some people believe that having the ability to donate to charities is a mark of good citizenship. Individuals who have received assistance personally from charitable organizations may have the desire to provide feedback to the charities. The fact that charitable donations earn tax refunds can be an incentive. Furthermore, certain people seem to have the need to achieve spiritual peace by donating to charities (Amos, 1982; Dawson, 1988). Previous studies state that demographic, socioeconomic, and psychographic characteristics have certain impacts on charitable donations (Jones & Posnett, 1991; Kitchen & Dalton, 1990). Schlegelmilch, Love, and Diamantopoulos (1997) mention that different donor profiles can be used to categorize donations to charities.

In order to reach donors and potential contributors, charities provide various kinds of information to explain the importance of charitable activities and the need to ease the financial problems of the organizations. Marketing strategies have been utilized by charities to increase consumers' awareness of the organizations and to stimulate the intentions of providing financial support (Hankinson, 2001). In charities, a certain percentage of marketing budgets is allocated to fundraising activities. The positive influences of marketing on charitable donations have been verified by studies (Guy & Patton, 1989; Kotler & Andreasen, 1991). Schlegelmilch et al. (1997) indicate that a better understanding of donors' characteristics enables the designing of more efficient strategies for fundraising activities. Jüttner and Wehrli (1994) mention that marketing strategies affect the commitments and the long-term relationships of customers. Välikangas and Lehtinen (1994) indicate that strategies may increase competitive advantages for services marketing.

Since numerous domestic and international charitable organizations provide humane or benevolent assistance, donors have abundant choices when considering charitable donations in Taiwan. This study examines the factors affecting consumers' willingness to donate and their intentions to continue to support charities in Taiwan. The results of this study not only provide further insights into the market of charitable donations, but also benefit local and international charities by assisting them in forming strategies to stimulate donation intentions.

Consumers acquire information to support decision making, reduce the risks of unsatisfactory purchases, or accumulate knowledge of certain products or services. Numerous researchers point out that consumers rely on experiences of information searching to understand, evaluate, and form attitudes toward products or services prior to purchases (Bettman, 1979; Blackwell, Miniard, & Engel, 2001; Howard, 1989; Mowen, 1995). …