PERCEIVED “PRICE” OF GIVING’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CHARITABLE GIVING AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH REPUTATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS AND TRUSTWORTHINESS
Charitable giving is an important resource for nonprofit organizations, particularly for small and start-up organizations. For these types of organizations, securing existing charitable giving is essential, not only for their growth, but also for their survival. Existing studies on charitable giving have focused on organizational strategies that nonprofits can adopt or individual traits that lead to favorable attitudes or behaviors toward charitable giving. However, less attention has been paid to the individual decision-making process to give. In this respect, this dissertation develops one cognitive pathway in charitable giving: the perceived “price” of giving. The perceived “price” of giving originated in the economic literature, and refers to the way individuals perceive how much they have to give to produce one-dollar worth of program output. Based upon this process, this study focuses on the way people interpret and are influenced by information about an organization’s performance and reputational signals in their decisions to give. Using a large-N online experiment (total N = 9,238), I test the way individuals understand different performance signals through the mechanism of perceived “price” of giving. In Chapter 3, I validate the mechanism by which perceived “price” of giving influences charitable giving. Chapter 4 investigates the relationship between the signals of organizational reputational effectiveness and charitable giving and tests the mediating effect of the perceived “price” of giving. Chapter 5 studies the way perceived “price” of giving mediates the relationship between the signals of organizational trustworthiness and charitable giving. The findings suggest that the perceived “price” of giving is indeed an effective mechanism of charitable giving, and the two types of organizational signals are found to have significant effects on giving to varying degrees. This dissertation contributes to our knowledge of charitable giving by developing a mechanism of individual decision-making to give, suggesting a cognitive process that influences charitable giving, and finding evidence of this cognitive pathway and important organizational signals that influence perceived “price” of giving and individuals’ charitable giving decisions.