CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK ARTICLE
A Typology of Charity Support Behaviors:
Toward a Holistic View of Helping
Derek N. Hassay
SUMMARY. Charities and researchers have begun to adopt a much
broader view of support; one that transcends traditional forms of consumer
charitable support behavior (CSB) such as donations and volunteerism
to include cause-related marketing (CRM), charity events and charity
gaming. The current article builds upon this expanding view of charity
support by introducing a typology of CSB that encompasses the breadth
of consumer CSB. In doing so, the article provides direction for charities
John Peloza is a PhD student in the Marketing Area at the Haskayne School of
Business at the University of Calgary, 2500 University Avenue N.W., Calgary, Alberta,
Canada, T2N 1N4 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Derek N. Hassay is Assistant Professor in the Marketing Area at the Haskayne
School of Business at the University of Calgary.
The authors contributed equally to the development of this article, and would like to
thank Debra Basil and the Centre for Socially Responsible Marketing at the University
[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: “A Typology of Charity Support Behaviors: Toward a Holistic View
of Helping.” Peloza, John, and Derek N. Hassay. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Nonprofit &
Public Sector Marketing (Best Business Books, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 17, No. 1/2, 2007,
pp. 135-151; and: Social Marketing: Advances in Research and Theory (eds: Debra Z. Basil and Walter
Wymer) Best Business Books, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2007, pp. 135-151. Single or multiple
copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH,
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: docdelivery@haworthpress .com].
Available online at http://jnpsm.haworthpress.com
©2007 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
seeking to garner additional support from current supporters, as well as a
means of attracting new supporters by using non-traditional forms of
charitable support. doi:10.1300/J054v17n01_07 [Article copies available for
a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail
address: <email@example.com> Website: <http://www.Haworth
Press.com> © 2007 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]
KEYWORDS. Charitable support, cause marketing, charity events,
Charities are facing an increasingly competitive fund-raising envi-
ronment. Chronic funding shortages are the result of factors such as an
ever-increasing number of charities in need of funds (Liao, Foreman,
and Sargeant, 2001) and decreasing direct donations (Williamson, 2003).
There is also increased competition for volunteers (Bussell and Forbes,
2002). These conditions have forced charities to become more aggres-
sive in trying to find new ways to attract and maintain both donor and
volunteer support. There has also been a concomitant increase in the
variety of revenue-producing approaches employed by charitable orga-
nizations, such as charity-branded products (Bennett and Gabriel, 2000),
charity lotteries/raffles (Peloza and Hassay, 2004), and cause-related
marketing (Varadarajan and Menon, 1988). Akin to fund-raising, these
novel approaches to revenue generation reflect new ways for the public to
support charities–what the authors refer to as charity support behaviors
The academic literature associated with CSB has almost exclusively
focused on financial donations and volunteerism. Although cause-related
marketing has received considerable attention of late, there is a need for
an expanded view of CSB and more research on non-conventional forms
of CSB. This expanded view of helping behavior is critical for charities
that seek to maximize opportunities to gain support from current sup-
porters, and provide opportunities to introduce the work of the charity to
those potential supporters. To this end, the authors propose a typology
that provides practitioners with an overview of all of the support oppor-
tunities available to their charity. The typology also offers charities a
novel perspective on segmenting the charity support market and offers
insight on how they might attract support from a previously untapped
136 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
market of supporters. Finally, the proposed typology provides researchers
with a framework that integrates previous research efforts and a guide to
future research opportunities. For instance, the typology introduces and
promotes forms of CSB that have received little attention in the non-
profit literature (e.g., charity products), and provides researchers with
insight into a variety of new areas of inquiry, such as consumer percep-
tions of novel forms of CSB.
The article begins with a discussion of the theoretical underpinnings
of the CSB typology, and then proceeds to a discussion of forms of CSB
identified in the typology. The article concludes with implications of the
CSB typology to practitioners and researchers interested in the con-
sumer behavior in charitable support activities.
A TYPOLOGY OF CHARITY SUPPORT BEHAVIORS
Bendapudi, Singh, and Bendapudi (1996) developed an extensive con-
ceptual framework and process model of helping behavior that identi-
fied three forms of helping behavior: no help,token help, and serious
help. Although the theoretical underpinnings of this model are very
well developed, the three helping behaviors are generic and provide
little direction for practitioners looking for new sources of resource
support. However, the Bendapudi et al. (1996) framework is particu-
larly relevant to the current article because it offers support for the exis-
tence of high- and low-involvement supporters. Specifically, Bendapudi
et al. (1996) argue that persistent (e.g., perceptions, motives, abilities)
and transient (e.g., moods, media exposure, attention) donor variables
serve to moderate the impact of charity promotions upon helping
Similarly, according to the decision process identified by Sargeant
(1999), CSB can be exhibited by uninvolved supporters. For example, a
contribution to charity can be motivated by a desire to reduce personal
taxes. However, the mediating variables in the Sargeant (1999) model
(i.e., fit between the organization and individual, past experience with
the charity) are limited to the decision process of the involved supporter.
Similarly, Bennett (2003) argued that sympathy and personal relevance
of a cause are particularly important determinants of the decision to
support a particular charity, again variables associated with involved
In their proposed model of brand community development, Hassay and
Peloza (2004a) argue that the brand community markers of consciousness
Conceptual Framework Article 137
of kind (i.e., identification) and shared rituals (i.e., behavioral involvement)
lead to the development of moral responsibility (i.e., perceived sense of
community) and subsequently commitment to a brand or charity. Specifi-
cally, the authors suggest that consumers linked by identification with
a common charitable cause increase their behavioral involvement through
shared acts of support. Essentially the work of these and other researchers
provide support for the current typology, one that distinguishes charity
support behaviors on the basis of involvement.
The current article adopts the purchase importance view of involve-
ment introduced by Howard and Sheth (1969). According to this con-
ceptualization, high-involvement purchases are those important to the
consumer while low-involvement purchases are unimportant (Assael,
1981). Moreover, researchers such as Assael (1981) believed that this form
of involvement had a profound influence on the type of decision-making
used by consumers.
In the next section, the authors expand upon the Hassay and Peloza
(2004b) suggestion that involved charity supporters look for, and are
willing to participate in, multiple CSB.
AN EXTENDED VIEW OF CHARITY SUPPORT
Researchers have linked volunteerism to higher levels of financial
contribution (Piliavin and Chang, 1990; Schlegelmilch, Love, and
Diamantopoulos, 1997; Sullivan, 2002), and charity raffle-ticket purchases
(Schlegelmilch et al., 1997). Similarly, Hassay and Peloza (2004b) argued
that experiential forms of charity support, such as lottery-ticket purchases,
are viewed by charity supporters as incremental to rather than substi-
tutes for other forms of support. Specifically, they proposed that experi-
ential forms of CSB, such as charity lotteries, offer hedonic benefits
unavailable through most conventional forms of CSB. The typology of
CSB in Figure 1 is based on the premise that both new and existing
supporters can be encouraged to offer their support or increase their
existing levels of support if and when new, value-added support oppor-
tunities are made available to them.
Basil (1998) found that while financial contributions and volunteerism
were related, cause-related purchasing was not related to other forms of
CSB. However, her measures focused on CSB in general, rather than CSB
directed toward a specific charity. Therefore, Basil’s (1998) findings do
not preclude the existence of a specific set of CSB for highly involved
supporters since cause-related purchasing is a support activity that can
138 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
be performed by anyone and even by those completely unaware of the
charity and/or its involvement.
Consequently, the typology of CSBs introduced in Figure 1 argues
that although high-involvement supporters willingly and knowingly en-
gage in multiple CSB on behalf of the charities that they support (i.e.,
the recursive arrows in Figure 1), the same is not true for low-involvement
supporters. Further, while low-involvement supporters will engage in
CSB, they have different perceptions of their support (e.g., utilitarian
donations versus gifts), and are, at least initially, unlikely to purposefully
engage in multiple CSB. For instance, a person may participate in a fun
run or attend a charity bingo without even knowing what charity was
being supported (Higgins and Lauzon, 2003). However, it is our belief
that these non-traditional, less involved forms of CSB can serve as
important introductions to the charity; providing the charity with an
opportunity to introduce its mission and its support needs to an untapped
market of neophyte supporters. And ultimately, it is believed that this
Conceptual Framework Article 139
FIGURE 1. A Proposed Typology of Charity Support Behavior
introduction can lead to increased involvement and subsequent support.
The various forms of CSB for involved and uninvolved supporters are
discussed in greater detail in the sections that follow.
Citizenship behaviors are defined as those behaviors that involve the
giving of one’s time and energy toward a specific charitable organiza-
tion. For supporters with high involvement, these behaviors can take the
form of volunteering, referrals, and gifts-in-kind. However, those who
lack involvement may still perform citizenship behaviors on behalf of
charity in the form of mandatory community service.
Volunteering. Similar to financial contributions, volunteerism has re-
ceived extensive attention from researchers (Wilson, 2000). And as with
financial contributions, many charities view volunteerism as critical to
their ability to perform their missions (Wymer and Starnes, 2001). In fact,
volunteerism rivals the value of individual donations, with an estimated
$225 billion in labor value donated to charities in the United States in
1998 (Wymer and Starnes, 2001).
Volunteerism is a form of helping behavior that typically results
from increased levels of involvement within supporters. Specifically,
volunteerism is a form of planned helping that “calls for considerably
more planning, sorting out of priorities, and matching of personal capa-
bilities and interests with type of intervention” (Benson et al., 1980, 89).
Affiliation with the charity or cause has been shown to be a primary
predictor of volunteerism (Clary et al., 1998), and commitment is en-
hanced when the cause is personally relevant to the volunteer (Smith, 1980).
Fisher and Ackerman (1998) argued that the decision to volunteer repre-
sents an important, even “life-altering” commitment.
Community Service. In some cases volunteer-type behaviors are per-
formed by individuals who have little if any identification or involve-
ment with a charity. The current article labels such quasi-volunteer acts
as community service in recognition of the fact that these behaviors are
rarely voluntary, but rather are forced through a legal requirement either
in exchange for public goods and services or criminal punishment. In
this scenario, an individual does not offer his or her services, but rather
is assigned to a specific charity with which the individual may have
no involvement. For example, Parsons (2002) indicated that charity
retailers in the UK, in response to volunteer shortages, have had to look
beyond the traditional volunteer pool to younger volunteers–those on
community service orders and government rehabilitation/training
140 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
programs, and even to paid employees. In addition, community service
captures those volunteer activities that are self-serving and that are
dictated by social and or employment contracts. For instance, employ-
ees may be required to participate in certain volunteer activities in order
to enhance the profile of either the firm, or the career of that particular
Referrals and Recruiting. Referring other supporters to the charity and
recruiting new volunteers are examples of citizenship behavior. For
example, prosocial behavior has been shown to increase when solicited
by someone from within an individual’s social network (Bendapudi et
al., 1996), and the ability to socialize with friends has been shown to be
a motivator of volunteer work (Broadbridge and Horne, 1994). Addi-
tionally, supporters of a charity will often recruit other members to get
involved in cause-related fitness events, such as charity fun runs (Scott
and Soloman, 2003).
Gifts-in-Kind. These types of gifts differ from financial contributions
in that they involve the donation of either time or goods such as clothing
or other personal resources. The most common form of gifts-in-kind is
the one made by professionals who donate their time to the charity. The
most notable examples include professional services such as legal or
accounting services. Farmer and Fedor (2001) found that consistency
between the charitable organizations’ mission and personal values pre-
dicted the amount of time professionals spend volunteering their services
to that charity.
For many charities, such gifts can have value equal to financial con-
tributions. For example, Parsons (2002) revealed that charity retailers in
the UK suffering stock shortages are actively soliciting and competing
for donations of clothing and other goods from consumers.
Recycling/Disposal. In contrast to the high-involvement gifts-in-kind,
individuals low in charity involvement may still donate their unwanted
goods to charity. However, donations of this kind are often viewed as a
way of recycling or getting rid of goods that are no longer needed; for
these individuals the specific charity is relatively inconsequential. In fact,
Parsons (2002) argued that charity shops have become a significant in-
termediary in the recycling process, with these shops acting as an entry
point for a much larger series of flows for unwanted goods.
Financial contributions are defined as monetary donations made to
charity. With an estimated $200 billion donated to charities in the United
Conceptual Framework Article 141
States alone in 2000 (Lindahl and Conley, 2002), it is not surprising that
financial contributions are the most widely researched type of CSB (e.g.,
Guy and Patton, 1988; Hibbert and Horne, 1996; Schlegelmilch et al.,
The CSB typology illustrates that the decision to make a financial
contribution to a charity is influenced by donor involvement with the
charity or cause. For example, while Supphellen and Nelson (2001) in-
dicated that recognition of the organization’s name is often sufficient to
generate donations from some, others give simply to “get rid of the asker”
(Hibbert and Horne, 1996). To this end, it will be shown that motives for
monetary donations found in the literature support our categorization of
financial contributions as either functional donations or gifts-donations
made by those more highly involved with a charity.
Functional Donations. Financial contributions made by those with
no or little involvement in a charity are associated with the functional
utility offered by such donations. For example, tax deductions have been
found to be significant motivators for some donors (Dawson, 1988).
Guilt has also been identified in a number of donor typologies (Guy
and Patton, 1988; Sargeant, 1999). For those individuals motivated by
the functional value of a monetary contribution, the specific charity is
irrelevant−the benefit is gained by donating to any charitable organiza-
tion. And according to Supphellen and Nelson (2001), in many cases
donors do not evaluate or even recognize the organization or the cause.
Other motivators may be specific to a particular charity but may not
require donor involvement with that charity. For example, Amos (1982)
identified “condition of employment” as a motivator for financial
contributions. In this scenario, a contribution is made to a specific
charity, but donor involvement may be nonexistent. Similarly, forward
reciprocity–essentially buying insurance against the donor needing the
services of the charity at a later date–has been identified as a motivator
for financial contribution (Dawson, 1988; Guy and Patton, 1988). In this
scenario the donor–driven by fear (Sargeant, 1999)–need not be involved
with the cause. Finally, social pressures are significant motivators of
financial contributions (Amos, 1982; Guy and Patton, 1988; Smith, 1980),
and although these pressures may be toward a specific charity, the indi-
vidual donor may lack personal involvement with that charity.
Gifts. The difference between functional donations and gifts, then, is
the degree of donor involvement with the specific charity or cause.
Indeed, donation may depend on congruence between the individual
and an organization’s identities (Bhattacharya, Rao, and Glynn, 1995).
142 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
Although a high-involvement financial contribution may be, in part,
motivated by the same egoistic rewards as functional donations, the
specific charity is chosen as a result of donor involvement. In fact, Smith
(1980) demonstrated that charities marked by higher involvement, such
as those affiliated with religions, are able to maintain higher donation
levels than other charities in the face of reduced tax advantages.
Examples of financial contributions that benefit from donor involve-
ment include those motivated by backward reciprocity, where the donor
is paying back services received by the charity (Dawson, 1988; Smith,
1980). Such donations are likely to benefit from existing involvement
with the charity or cause. Similarly, Bennett (2003) identified “empa-
thetic inclination” as a determinant of financial contributions, where the
donor is motivated to help as a result of empathy toward a specific
victim or cause.
Perceived risk is also a factor affecting donor involvement and finan-
cial contributions. Hibbert and Horne (1996) argued that the level of
risk and commitment involved in the financial contribution will be posi-
tively related to donor involvement. Therefore, donor involvement at a
charity collection box on the street in characterized by low risk, low com-
mitment and therefore low involvement. Similarly, Rosenblatt, Cusson
and McGown (1986) propose a relationship between perceived risk and
Finally, Batson (1994) highlighted principlism as a motive for acting
in the public good. In this scenario, the support is given in order to uphold
one’s principles, and therefore likely to be made to a charity where the
donor has existing involvement.
According to Barone, Miyazaki, and Taylor (2000) identification with a
cause extends to the type of products that supporters buy; with con-
sumers found to actively search for and purchase products that support
causes that they identify with. Similarly, Sen and Bhattacharya (2001)
found that consumers select products based on charity affiliation and
are willing to pay more for products affiliated with personally relevant
charities. Conversely, shoppers will boycott or disidentify with a brand
because of its charity affiliations (Webb and Mohr, 1998). Webb and Mohr
(1998) argued that segments of the population invest time and effort,
as well as money, to develop informed responses to corporate cause-
related marketing initiatives.
Conceptual Framework Article 143
Consequently, identification underscores the notion that people who
support a cause do not necessarily identify with it, although those who
identify with a cause will support it (Bhattacharya et al., 1995). Further-
more, identification extends beyond the consumption of products sold
by the charity to the products and services of third parties through cause-
related marketing (CRM). In fact, according to Bennett and Gabriel
(2000), these purchases provide supporters with a more visible, symbolic
statement about their identification with the organization and/or cause,
purchases often used as badges that allow supporters to define them-
selves in public.
Although CRM has become a widely researched form of CSB, Hassay
and Peloza (2004b) emphasized that charity purchasing embodies
much more than just CRM. Specifically, in the current context, charity
purchasing is defined as any consumer-oriented, value-driven exchange
in which the purchase of a product or service directly or indirectly
generates financial returns for a charitable organization.
Event Attendance/Participation. Examples of charity events include
a wide range of activities including bingos, concerts, dinners, fashion
shows, and cause-related fitness events (e.g., fun runs). Despite their
prevalence, there is little research on consumer behavior issues related
to these events. In part, this paucity of research is explained by the fact
that these events are relatively new (Scott and Solomon, 2003). Although
relatively unexplored, Higgins and Lauzon (2003) illustrated that these
forms of fund-raising are not inconsequential, with 15% of the $5 bil-
lion donated by Canadians to charities in 2000 tied to the sponsorship of
someone in a fund-raising event. Furthermore, it has been reported that
Americans spent an estimated $10 billion on more than 75,000 charity-
sponsored bingo and casino games in 1993 (Johnston, 1993).
According to Gagnard (1989), charity events are the most popular
form of fund-raising–a finding that Higgins and Lauzon (2003) argued
is partially explained by the resemblance of these events to traditional
market exchanges. Moreover, value-added fund-raising products, and
especially those that offered some form of hedonic value, are likely to be
well received by both current and new supporters (Cheary, 1997; Hassay
and Peloza, 2004b). What distinguishes high- and low-involvement
participation in charity events then is likely to be the motivation for
participation. Specifically, it is believed that the charity or cause will be
first and foremost in the minds of those highly involved, whereas those
less involved will be focused on the leisure, entertainment, and social-
networking aspects of these types of events. For example, Higgins and
Lauzon (2003) found that participants of a charity fun run were either
144 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
cause- or event-focused. These authors found that while this latter
group of participants was aware of a charity-connection, they were un-
able to recall which charity or cause was involved. Scott and Solomon
(2003) reported similar findings in an investigation of cause-related
Charity Products–Goods/Services. Although a large number of charities
make and/or distribute merchandise and services for sale to consumers,
there has been very little research conducted on consumer desire for and
attitudes toward such products. Rather, the few articles in this area have
focused on the supply side of such products, and specifically on issues
of charity retailing and on charity branding and opportunities to extend
the charity brand.
According to Ford and Mottner (2003), research on charity retailing
is almost entirely based upon UK charity shops. In addition, Parsons
(2002) reported that charity trading has grown rapidly since the 1980s,
with over 6,000 charity shops operating in the U.K. combining for more
£400 million in sales. And while this sales performance represents less
than 1% of UK retail sales (Benady, 1997), charity retailers are experi-
encing growth rates that are well above those being experienced by the
retail sector. Further, the list of charity products is growing into non-
traditional areas such as music and whiskey (Cheary, 1997). With respect
to services, the charity car wash has been a fixture in North America for
years, and charities are now offering equity plans, savings and other
financial services, and even adventure holidays (Bennett and Gabriel,
Moreover, a number of researchers have suggested that charity retail-
ing is evolving from its traditional position as a purveyor of second-hand
goods to mainstream retailers focused on the sale of new merchandise.
This new breed of charity retailer often targets a more affluent consumer
base (Parsons, 2002), many of whom are simply looking for a way to
support the charity (Horne and Broadbridge, 1995).
The lack of research beyond charity retailing is surprising when one
considers that the Boy Scouts of America have had exclusive rights to
the name and associated logo in order to protect their right to sell mer-
chandise in support of scouting since 1916 (Jabe, 1998), while their sister
organization–the Girl Guides of Canada–have been selling private-label
Girl Guide cookies as a fund-raising activity for more than 75 years.
Similar to the dichotomy of charity-event participants, it is believed
that consumers will choose to purchase charity goods and services be-
cause of either product involvement (i.e., the product itself), or cause
Conceptual Framework Article 145
Charity Products–Lottery/Raffle Tickets. The authors follow the
Hassay and Peloza (2004b) categorization scheme and distinguish lot-
tery/raffle-ticket purchases from not only more conventional goods and
services, but also other forms of charity gaming identified previously as
“charity events.” The reason for assigning these charity gaming prod-
ucts a unique category is that they may or may not be produced by the
charity (i.e., may be state-sponsored), moreover the charity may or may
not be an identifiable recipient of the lottery/raffle. As with the other
forms of charity purchasing, there is very little research on charity lot-
teries, with Peloza and Hassay (2004) a notable exception. And yet,
despite this paucity of research, such lotteries have considerable appeal.
In fact, North Americans spend liberally on gambling products that
support charities. For example, in 1995 charities in North America
raised more than $1.3 billion through gaming activities, and it has been
estimated that charity gaming accounts for over 3% of total gambling
revenues in the United States (Nonprofit World, 1996).
Again, high- and low-involvement consumers are believed to be dis-
tinguished by their purchasing motives: either to win a desirable prize or
because of improved odds of winning, or out of a desire to support the
focal charity. To this end, a preliminary study conducted by Peloza and
Hassay (2004) revealed that a particular kind of charity lottery product,
the premium-priced “charity super lottery,” was more likely to be pur-
chased by high-involvement charity supporters than low-involvement
Cause-Related Marketing. By far the most widely researched form of
charity purchasing is CRM, where companies donate a portion of sales
to a defined charity (Varadarajan and Menon, 1998). CRM programs
have been touted as an effective source of differentiation for companies
looking to distinguish their brands from their competition (Meyer, 1999;
Shell, 1989). However, Chaney and Dolli (2001) found that consumers
were more likely to recall the name of the charity recipient rather than
the CRM sponsor firm, suggesting that the nonprofit sector benefits
from such collaborations beyond the immediate financial gain. Particu-
larly important to the current article was the Chaney and Dolli (2001)
discovery that CRM is a complementary rather than substitutive form of
fund-raising in the minds of consumers. Consumers in the Chaney and
Dolli (2001) study also reported purchasing more of and switching to
those brands associated with CRM programs.
With respect to involvement it is believed that highly involved sup-
porters of a charity will seek out, and possibly switch, to those organiza-
tional products that support their particular cause or charity. In contrast,
146 SOCIAL MARKETING: ADVANCES IN RESEARCH AND THEORY
low-involvement consumers will simply purchase the products that
offer the most value, and for some of these consumers, a CRM product
may be seen as offering more value simply because it has a charity affil-
iation. In fact, it has been found that consumers not only exhibit a pref-
erence for companies and products that support social causes (Mohr,
Webb, and Harris, 2001), but that they are also willing to pay higher prices
for such products (Meyer, 1999; Webb and Mohr, 1998).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The proposed CSB typology provides an integration of what were
previously treated as primarily independent forms of support behavior,
such as financial contributions and volunteerism. In addition, the pro-
posed typology expands the current range of CSB discussed in the liter-
ature to include emerging and novel forms of CSB such as charity
lotteries and the purchase of charity goods and services.
The typology highlights an important yet largely ignored segment of
uninvolved charity supporters. Although most research tends to assume
an audience of involved supporters (i.e., those who are passionate about
a specific charity), the proposed typology suggests that uninvolved sup-
porters may represent an important opportunity for charities, and that
charities should develop support vehicles to attract uninvolved support-
ers. For instance, through nontraditional forms of CSB, uninvolved
consumers may prove to be a significant source of financial support to a
charity. More importantly, it is suggested that these nontraditional
forms of support can serve as an introduction to the charity or cause that
may lead to future involvement and future support.
Although it is unlikely that an initially uninvolved supporter will im-
mediately offer allegiance to the charity, the proposed typology provides
insight into strategies for charities to develop involvement in consumers.
Specifically, the hierarchy-of-effects framework may be useful in
providing an opportunity for charities to leverage initial contacts with
uninvolved consumers to develop long-term involved supporters. These
initial contacts represent opportunities for charities to communicate their
mission or impress upon the consumer the importance or severity of
their cause. Such awareness, and subsequent attitudes and intentions,
are often used to assess impact in hierarchical conceptualizations of the
communications process (e.g., McGuire, 1976).
However, not all uninvolved consumers represent potential donors.
The consumption motive arguably remains the most significant deter-
Conceptual Framework Article 147
minant for both initial and continued purchase of charity-supported
goods and/or services. For example, products are often purchased and
consumed without awareness that these products support a charity.
In this case, the motive may be utilitarian (e.g., a useful product at an
attractive price), or hedonic (as may be the case with charity gaming). In
fact, many purchases are made with only limited decision-making effort,
and therefore little or no consideration for the charitable cause is given.
This again underscores how important it is for charities to ensure that
their message is delivered and reinforced through all communication
vehicles, and that consumers are exposed to their purpose or need.
The involvement segmentation provides charity marketers with an
important opportunity to increase consumer support and commitment.
To this end, charities should consider creating additional CSB opportu-
nities for highly involved supporters. For example, novel support oppor-
tunities such as charity lotteries have been shown to generate incremental
support to existing fund-raising and volunteer efforts. In fact, the pro-
posed typology represents an important step in developing an integrated
view of CSB, one that allows charities to maximize support from in-
volved consumers. Further, involved supporters should be targeted when
charities develop what are traditionally considered uninvolved forms of
support, such as charity gaming, as these novel support products likely
tap what were heretofore untapped consumption values (Hassay and
Finally, the current article highlights a number of future research
opportunities. First, research is needed to better understand the different
consumption values sought and received by involved consumers who
engage in multiple CSB. For example, does a CSB such as charity gam-
ing indeed complement other forms such as volunteering, or does one
replace the other? Second, more study is needed into the decision-making
process of consumers who move from uninvolved to involved supporters.
Research might, for instance, explore how best to introduce uninvolved
consumers to the charity mission or need. Another important question
to be answered is, To what degree does the form of initial contact (e.g.,
hedonic versus altruistic) affect consumer attitudes toward the organi-
zation and the decision to become more involved? Lastly, future re-
search should examine how to leverage existing “brand” communities
(Muniz and O’Guinn, 2001) within the charity sector to attract new sup-
porters, and develop and maintain long-term relationships with existing
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