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Research Notes – Issue IV: September 2023

This issue includes research notes on virtual reality, charity galas, benefit corporations, peer-to-peer giving, volunteering and elite donors. The ERNOP Research Notes for Philanthropy Practitioners are easy-to-read, nicely edited and visualised two-page summaries of academic articles from ERNOP members focusing on implications for practice.


Virtual Reality can drive an increase in the value of donations

Authors: Nina Sooter – University of Geneva | Giuseppe Ugazio – University of Geneva 

Provided by: Rebecca McMurray

This paper investigates whether virtual reality is more effective than traditional forms of media at increasing the value of donations. Virtual reality gives participants the feeling of being immersed in a virtual world. The authors compared the donor behavior of people viewing a setting via Virtual Reality or on a computer screen (i.e. traditional forms of fundraising). The authors focus on the following question: Does using virtual reality as a fundraising medium increase the likelihood and value of donations?

#VirtualReality #Innovation #NextGen #Technology #Fundraising


The everlasting appeal of charity galas

Author: Fiona Fairbairn – University of Kent

Provided by: Donna Platt from Gorilla Doctors

Charity galas have historical significance in elite fundraising; however, there is a potential decline in their popularity, with younger generations looking to engage with philanthropy in ways that differ from those of previous generations. Therefore, it is unclear if charity galas are still relevant today. The study compares attitudes towards charity galas in the UK among donors of different generations and fundraisers, focusing on emerging (younger generations) and established donors (older generations). 

#Gala #Fundraising #Donor #Motivation #Connect #Cause


How socialization influences informal volunteering

Authors: Marlou Ramaekers – Radboud University  | Ellen Verbakel – Radboud University | Gerbert Kraaykamp – Radboud University 
Provided by: Katy Adams from the University of Heidelberg

Concerns have been raised over the potential decline of community life. This study discusses the impact of parents and current partners on behaviours during adulthood that foster social bonds. The study questions whether parents and partners modelling and encouraging prosocial behaviour affects adults‘ informal volunteering. 

#Informal #Volunteering #Socialization #Modelling #Encouragemment


Unlocking Insights from Elite Donors

Author: Beth Breeze – University of Kent
Provided by: Gregory Knott of the University of Connecticut Foundation

Elite donors are crucial for many non-profits, but an overreliance on indirect indicators of their motivations, experiences, and perspectives limits organizations’ understanding of this key constituency. This study presents strategies to overcome the challenges in gaining access and engaging in direct, substantive dialogue with elite donors

#Philanthropists #MeaningfulImpact #HNWDonors #CapitalCampaignSuccess


Donor inspiration in a peer-to-peer context

Authors: Laura Hesse – Universität Hamburg | Silke Boenigk – Universität Hamburg
Provided by: Anna-Leah Gebuehr

The study examines how peer fundraisers influence the donation behaviour of donors within peer fundraising campaigns, drawing on the concept of inspiration. Insights from this study can help fundraising managers design fundraising campaigns and develop new peer donor recruitment strategies by considering donor motivations beyond their charity’s cause. The key question it answers is if inspiration and its sources, especially a peer fundraiser, can inspire donation behaviour.

#Charity #Fundraising #Campaign #DonorInspiration #PeerToPeer


The rise of benefit corporations as the new form of firm altruism

Author: Livia Ventura | University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership | University of Geneva
Provided by: Theresa Gehringer from SKKG Stiftung für Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte

Over the past decade, companies have increasingly recognized the importance of achieving positive environmental and social impacts beyond generating profits. In response to civil society’s demands, new hybrid organizational forms such as the “benefit corporations” have emerged in the U.S. These corporations are characterized by a governance structure that incorporates altruism into the decision-making processes. As such, benefit corporations represent a new governance model that goes beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. The voluntary inclusion of a “public benefit” for society and the environment in the corporate purpose is the main characteristic of such organizations. 

#Corporations #Altruism #Sustainability #StakeholderCapitalism #Governance


Balancing financial and social goals in dual-purpose companies

Authors: Julie Battilana – Harvard University | Tomasz Obloj – HEC Paris | Anne-Claire Pache – ESSEC Business School | Metin Sengul – Boston College
Provided by: Ana Pimenta from Blink CV

There is a growing trend of companies attempting to balance financial and social goals simultaneously. However, they often face challenges because different stakeholders have different expectations. When these challenges become more intense, companies might prioritize one goal, which can lead to them losing their original mission or even going bankrupt. In this article, the authors explore the conditions that influence the intensity of the financial/social trade-offs experienced by dual-purpose companies. 

#Dualpurpose #EconomicLiberalism #Governance #SocialEconomy