Year of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Marketing.

Principal Supervisor

Prendergast, Gerard P.


Charitable contributions;Corporations;Fund raising.




Across three experiments, I demonstrate that when for-profit organizations focus on the emotional aspects of fund-raising appeals, the evaluations of their appeal decline and they are unsuccessful in generating positive donation intentions; however, this is not the case for nonprofit organizations. In particular, experiment 1 reveals that affective, emotional appeals are viewed more favorably by consumers when they are connected with nonprofit organizations; in contrast, rational, unemotional appeals have greater favorability when they are associated with for-profit organizations. This interaction effect is mediated by the processing fluency, in which the nonprofit organization concepts (vs. for-profit concepts) are congruent with the emotional dimensions of the fund-raising content, causing an ease of processing and positive appeal evaluations. In experiment 2, I find converging evidence that people tend to place little weight on their actual emotional responses in making donation decisions when a for-profit organization is involved. Consumers tend to exhibit a donation flatline, displaying equivalent donation behavior regardless of the actual emotional experiences involved. In experiment 3, I further demonstrate that people's memory performance actually becomes impaired when a high-intensity negative emotional appeal is presented by a for-profit organization but not when it is presented by a nonprofit organization, which again reveals that for-profit organizations’ use of emotional appeals to connect with consumers' affective feelings may backfire. I argue that this is because the activation of for-profit concepts (vs. nonprofit concepts) gives rise to the cognitive system (vs. the affective system), leading people to regulate their emotions via suppression in order to conduct a careful assessment of the appeal content; this results in a donation flatline.


Principal supervisor: Prof. Prendergast, Gerard Paul. ; Thesis submitted to the Department of Marketing. ; Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong Baptist University, 2015


Includes bibliographical references (pages 58-65)


The author retains all rights to this work. The author has signed an agreement granting HKBU a non-exclusive license to archive and distribute their thesis.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.