March 7, 2013
‘Prevent Death’ Message More Effective Than ‘Save Life’ In Blood Donation Campaigns
'Prevent loss' message better than 'provide benefits' to increase volunteerism
Subtle changes in messaging can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of charitable messages such as calls for blood donations, according to research published March 6 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Eileen Chou from the University of Virginia and co-author Keith Murnighan at Northwestern University.
In a second study, the researchers assessed the effects of these slight changes in framing a charitable message on people's emotional motivation for a monetary donation. Here, they found that framing an appeal as "helping people to avoid a loss" rather than "helping people to gain benefits" led to increased intentions to volunteer and more helping behavior. Volunteers presented with such "prevention of loss" messages were also more likely to expect larger donations to their cause. "These findings demonstrated a simple, reliable, and effective method for charities to significantly increase important helping behaviors," Chou said.
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