Increasing charitable donation intentions with preliminary importance ratings

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4 Scopus citations


In the question-behavior effect (QBE), making a prediction about one’s behavior moves the behavior in the direction of the prediction. The current experiments explore the use of preliminary questions to increase the pro-social nature of such behavior predictions in both charitable giving and charitable bequests. Initially requesting importance ratings of charitable causes – as compared with simply referencing the charitable causes – significantly increased subsequent donation and bequest intentions to related charities. Requesting additional importance ratings for specific projects of named charities significantly increased subsequent cause importance ratings and donation and bequest intentions for both named and similar unnamed charities. Preliminary importance rating questions were also more effective than otherwise similar preliminary donation intention questions, potentially because of the non-monetary nature and greater malleability of importance ratings. Rather than merely revealing a fixed, underlying donative intent, these results suggest that the elicitation process can alter underlying donation intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-411
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Charitable bequests
  • Charitable giving
  • Philanthropy
  • Question behavior effect
  • Socratic fundraising


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