The Family Tribute in Charitable Bequest Giving: An Experimental Test of the Effect of Reminders on Giving Intentions

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Abstract

The propensity for charitable bequest giving is much lower than for current charitable giving. Some nonexperimental evidence suggests that this difference may be due to the relatively greater importance of family benefit considerations in charitable bequest giving than in current charitable giving. To test this concept experimentally, the effects of a family-charity conflict reduction message (that is, a reminder of family connections to a cause and an opportunity to make a tribute gift) are measured for both current and bequest giving. For those with family connections to a cause, the message generated increased interest in charitable bequest giving but not in current charitable giving. This result provides experimental support for previous suggestions regarding the special role of family considerations in charitable bequest giving. Managers may profitably consider the use of tribute messages to encourage bequest, but not necessarily current, charitable giving. Such messages were effective at increasing bequest intentions for all organization types and demographic groups tested, especially where the tribute was in honor of an ascendant such as a mother, grandmother, grandfather, or uncle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-89
Number of pages17
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Bequests
  • Estate planning
  • Fundraising
  • Legacy
  • Planned giving

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