Love inspires donations: research

Story by Matters India: A new research found that emotions such as hope, pride, love, and compassion to encourage people to donate to charitable causes can lead to different results, and love alone has the power to inspire giving to those with whom the giver has no connection.

Researchers at the University of Southern California and Duke University found that “love is unique among positive emotions in fostering a feeling of connectedness…. And inspires giving in a way that even closely related, reported University Herald.

“Love is unique among positive emotions in fostering a feeling of connectedness,” write authors Lisa A. Cavanaugh (University of Southern California), James R. Bettman (Duke University), and Mary Frances Luce (Duke University). “Love inspires giving in a way that even closely related emotions such as compassion do not.”

To arouse specific emotions, study participants engaged in self-reflective writing and viewed emotion-laden advertisements. They imagined giving to a range of causes, some they felt connected to such as a food drive for local families, and others that felt more distant, such as rainforest conservation in a faraway country.

They found that while positive emotions in general encouraged people to give to those they felt connected to, only love enhanced giving to people who would otherwise seem distant and unconnected. Love generated a feeling of connection regardless of geography.

“This study has serious implications for marketers, universities, charities, and nonprofits that seek contributions to projects with which donors have no personal relationship. The current findings underscore the importance of focusing in such cases on the one positive emotion which best widens the giver’s circle of caring: love,” conclude the authors.

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