No Pain No Gain
NO PAIN, NO GAIN: THE IMPACT OF SELF SACRIFICE ON CHARITABLE DONATIONS
A podcast with Dr Christopher Olivola from Warwick Business School
Would you rather raise money for charity by running a marathon or by having a picnic? While consuming cucumber sandwiches might be less demanding, the lack of self-sacrifice could lead to less successful charitable fundraising. In this podcast, Dr Olivola explains the implications of the 'martyrdom effect' to Dr Annette Rubery.
The martyrdom effect
The word ‘martyr’ has strong connotations. It is a word that implies self-sacrifice, suffering and a steadfast commitment to a cause. On first glance, it’s not a word one would associate with those who fundraise for charity. As good as bake sales are, time spent producing cupcakes does not make someone a martyr – no matter how much flour they are covered in.
Of course, bake sales are not the only means of philanthropy. It is now reasonably commonplace to hear of friends, family or colleagues undertaking a mud run, three peaks challenge or triathlon for a good cause. The self-sacrifice involved in raising money this way, and people’s subsequent willingness to donate more money compared to less ‘extreme’ methods of fundraising, is what Dr Olivola has dubbed 'the martyrdom effect'. In this podcast he discusses his paper, The martyrdom effect: When pain and effort increase pro-social contributions with Dr Annette Rubery. The paper was written in partnership with Professor Eldar Shafir of Princeton University.
Testing the principle
Given that pain and suffering are things that humans normally seek to avoid, Dr Olivola began looking for an explanation of the psychological state behind this phenomenon. With a group of test subjects, he and Professor Shafir undertook five experiments designed to develop an understanding of what motivates charitable giving. The first experiment involved proposing hypothetical scenarios to discover the subject’s views on charitable giving.
Sacrifice needs creativity
Also on the Knowledge Centre
Related WRAP Articles
Pronin, E., Olivola, Christopher Yves, 1980- and Kennedy, K. A. (2007) Doing unto future selves as you would do unto others : psychological distance and decision making. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol.34 (No.2). pp. 224-236. ISSN 0146-1672
Rezlescu, Constantin, Duchaine, Brad, Olivola, Christopher Yves, 1980- and Chater, Nick (2012) Unfakeable facial configurations affect strategic choices in trust games with or without information about past behavior. PLoS ONE, Vol.7 (No.3). e34293. ISSN 1932-6203
Olivola, Christopher Yves, 1980- and Todorov, Alexander (2010) Fooled by first impressions? Reexamining the diagnostic value of appearance-based inferences. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol.46 (No.2). pp. 315-324. ISSN 0022-1031