Charitable Giving to Distant Others: An extended theory of planned behaviour model

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Mittelman, Robert J.




Asking the question why consumers make the choices they do when it comes to charitable giving has interested a diverse group of research scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. While a broad body of literature on charitable giving exists, less research has focused on why donors give internationally or to “distant others”. This dissertation attempts to answer the following overarching research questions: Why do charitable donors support distant others? How do they decide whom to support? A mixed methods approach is used in two main studies. The first is an exploratory study of Canadian charitable donor behaviour on Results showed that donors lend on Kiva because of the difference they are making in someone’s life and because they have the ability to demonstrate caring. There was a strong, positive correlation between the popularity of loans by country between the Kiva Global data and the Canadian data. However, a more detailed examination revealed possible socio-political and cultural ties between lenders and borrowers. An extended model of the theory of planned behaviour for charitable giving to distant others is then proposed that includes five new constructs to the charitable giving and donor behaviour literature: belief in a just world, justice restoration efficacy, psychic distance, multiethnic identity and cultural exposure. A survey of 417 individuals, from both Canada and the United states, was conducted examining the attitudes and intentions of potential donors toward distant others. The results were analyzed using descriptive, inferential, and structural statistical analysis. The findings identify seven factors that directly influence the intention to donate to distant others, namely 1) justice restoration efficacy, 2) the intention to donate, 3) attitude towards helping others, 4) perceived behavioural control, 5) past behaviour, 6) psychic distance, and 7) cultural exposure. This dissertation research advances the understanding of donor behaviour and offers a model of the intention to donate with greater predictive validity than those previously published. It extends the literature on distant others, identifies the major influences on giving to distant others, and introduces and operationalizes the constructs of psychic distance and cultural exposure in the non-profit literature.






Carleton University

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