Revista de Administração Revista de Administração
Social Responsibility
What motivates money donation? A study on external motivators
O que motiva a doação de dinheiro? Estudo sobre motivadores externos
¿Qué factores motivan la donación de dinero? Un estudio sobre motivadores externos
Nivea Coelho Degasperi, , Emerson Wagner Mainardes
Fundação Instituto Capixaba de Pesquisa em Contabilidade, Economia e Finanças, Vitória, ES, Brazil
Recebido 27 Abril 2016, Aceitaram 01 Dezembro 2016

The objective of this study is to identify external motivating factors that favor individual money donation. Methodologically, we adopted a descriptive and quantitative cross-sectional study. In order to collect data, we prepared a questionnaire containing 49 statements based on external motivating variables of regular individual money donation found in the literature on the subject. After testing the questionnaire, we applied it to 1073 Brazilians, regular money donors and we performed an exploratory factor analysis. Conclusively, we identified 8 external factors that motivate individual money donation: Trust, Reward, Leadership influences, Characteristics of the organization, Environmental influences, Personal benefits, Characteristics of beneficiaries and Future Interests. We expect that these 8 factors combined, could become a useful tool to improve the management of charitable organizations, especially in defining campaigns or other marketing strategies to attract new donors and raise funds on occasions that are favorable to individual money donation.


Neste estudo, Buscou-se identificar os fatores motivadores externos que favorecem a doação individual de dinheiro. Metodologicamente adotou-se uma pesquisa descritiva, quantitativa com corte transversal. Para coleta dos dados foi elaborado um questionário contendo 49 afirmativas baseadas nas variáveis motivadoras externas de doação individual regular de dinheiro encontradas na literatura sobre o tema. Depois de testado, o questionário foi aplicado a 1073 brasileiros, doadores regulares de dinheiro e realizada a análise fatorial exploratória. Conclusivamente, foram identificados oito fatores externos que, na visão dos doadores pesquisados, motivam a doação individual de dinheiro: Confiança, Recompensa, Influências de lideranças, Características da organização, Influências do ambiente, Benefícios pessoais, Características dos beneficiários e Interesses futuros. Espera-se que esses oito fatores, conjuntamente, possam se tornar uma ferramenta útil para melhorar a gestão das organizações de caridade, principalmente na definição de campanhas ou outras estratégias de marketing para atrair novos doadores e angariar fundos em ocasiões favoráveis à doação individual de dinheiro.


El objetivo en este estudio es identificar los factores motivadores externos que favorecen la donación individual de dinero. Se ha adoptado como metodología un estudio descriptivo, cuantitativo, con sección transversal. Para la recopilación de datos se ha elaborado un cuestionario con 49 afirmaciones que tenían como base las variables motivacionales externas de donación individual regular de dinero encontradas en la literatura sobre el tema. El cuestionario, previamente puesto a prueba, se ha aplicado a 1073 brasileños, donantes regulares de dinero, y se ha realizado el análisis factorial exploratorio. Como conclusión, se han identificado ocho factores externos que, en la opinión de los encuestados donantes, motivan la donación individual de dinero: confianza, recompensa, influencias de liderazgo, características de la organización, influencias del ambiente, beneficios personales, características de los beneficiarios e intereses futuros. Se espera que estos ocho factores, juntos, puedan convertirse en una herramienta útil para mejorar la gestión de las organizaciones de caridad, sobre todo en la definición de campañas y otras estrategias de marketing destinadas a atraer a nuevos donantes y a recaudar fondos en ocasiones favorables a la donación individual de dinero.

Philanthropy, Individual donation, Motivators for donation, Money donation
Filantropia, Doação individual, Motivadores para a doação, Doação de dinheiro
Palabras clave
Filantropía, Donación individual, Motivadores para la donación, Donación en efectivo
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Philanthropy, briefly defined as a private action for the public good (Payton, 1988), represents contributions (of money, time, goods and specializations) voluntarily donated to the common good (Schuyt, Smit, & Bekkers, 2004). These donations can be intermediated by the third sector or non-profit organizations, such as religious, educational, scientific, health, charitable, among other bodies (Payne, 1998).

In face of the acknowledgment of the collaboration that philanthropy brings to the economic and social development of a nation, Wiepking (2009) states that the pillars of future prosperity will be sustainable economic growth, political democracy and a basic level of social services. In this context, social and public welfare institutions, will possibly be financially supported by three sources of fundraising: government financing, fees and charges and philanthropy. However, due to changes in social, political and economic environments in the world, resources that ought to be provided or financed by the government have been made increasingly more scarce toward the support of charitable organizations (Grace & Griffin, 2006).

Based on this scenario, an overall increase in individual donations of money is estimated for charitable organizations. In 2013, for example, the amount donated to charity worldwide was 335.17 billion USD, with 72% being from individual donations. In the Brazilian reality, 22% of individuals are already donors or have donated to civil society organizations (Charities Aid Foundation, 2014).

With that taken into account, this subject has been much discussed in the academia, Bekkers and Wiepking (2011d) reviewed approximately 550 articles with the purpose of better knowing the behavior of the individual donor and the attributes that are tied to these donors. Other researchers, in addition to the previous authors, such as Grace and Griffin (2009), Verhaert and Van den Poel (2011), Michel and Rieunier (2012) and Casale and Baumann (2013), also seek to understand the reasons why individuals donate to charity by identifying variables that are directly related to the behavior of this individual donor. However, most of these studies have concentrated their research on factors, mechanisms or set of variables that shape the donor behavior. As an exception, Bekkers and Wiepking (2007, 2011b) grouped variables in 8 donation mechanisms, however, they did not separate the external motivators from the internal ones, despite the differences between them. Moreover, we did not test the models empirically.

As a way of filling the literature gap, especially on the lack of empirical studies and with regard to the grouping of external motivators of donation, this study intends to answer the following question: What are the external motivating factors that favor individual donations of money by Brazilians?

We highlight that understanding the behavior of the individual donor through the external motivating factors that favor the donation of money is relevant for two reasons: the first concerns academic contribution, since the existing literature lacks research on the subject, mainly focused on grouping variables and conducting empirical research. The second reason refers to the practical field, since charitable organizations increasingly have the need of knowing the external motivators that favor donation, mainly due to a possible transition in which these organizations are inserted, which provides for a considerable reduction of government funding and the consequent need to increase the individual donation of money. In this environment, for a good performance of charitable organizations, a constant refinement of fundraising techniques is required in order to obtain potential donors to finance charitable projects (DeHaven, 2010).

As a result of not finding national studies that approach the external motivators of the individual donation of money, we opted to identify them in international literature to verify the adherence of these external motivators in Brazil. The motivators are possibly the same for all of society, regardless of which country it is, and some motivators appear as having more or less strength depending on the country. However, in general terms, these external motivators tend to be the same or very similar among the various countries, which also makes the use of these motivators become a possibility within the Brazilian reality.

Besides this introduction, this study contemplates a theoretical framework, covering the behavior of the donor and it adopts as its main focus, identifying the largest possible number of variables related to external motivators that favor the individual donation of money. In this research, we were able to identify 49 external motivators that favor the donation of money, presented in this study through a framework. In order to verify if the variables contained in the literature motivate the behavior of the Brazilian individual donor, we conducted a quantitative research with 1073 frequent donors of money. And, as a way to reduce the amount of variables, we propose its grouping through the factorial analysis that allowed us to identify 8 external motivating factors that favor the donation of money.

Theoretical framework

It is estimated that rich individuals, middle-class entrepreneurs, as well as ordinary people, i.e., the majority of citizens, are becoming increasingly involved with the common good (Schuyt et al., 2004). In this situation, philanthropic organizations already know that individuals are prone to donating money and/or goods (Bachke, Alfnes, & Wik, 2014).

In view of this scenario, academia efforts are aimed at knowing the reasons why individuals make their donations. Bekkers and Wiepking (2011c), for example, argued that acts of philanthropy can be inspired by a concern for the welfare of beneficiaries. This leads to an understanding of what had been pointed out by Grace and Griffin (2006), by stating that individual personality characteristics and demographic factors can provide a range of information to explain donation behavior.

On the other hand, researchers such as Bennett (2003) questioned the fact that motivations predictors of donation are related only to the desire to help or by demographic issues. In Bennett's (2003) view, there are other factors that supposedly influence the propensity to donate, such as: the image and brand of the charitable organization; the perception that the organization is efficient; the fact that people's generosity is often related to their affiliation with a network, society, political group, social movement or a religious, artistic or scientific community.

In this line of research, Knowles, Hyde, and White (2012) corroborate these arguments and emphasize that, despite the importance and the amount of research conducted on donations to charity focusing on demographic variables, they do not provide an explanation of why people choose to get involved with a determined donation and do not foresee strategic goals to encourage them to donate more.

It seems that before engaging with charity, individuals go through a process of deciding which organization they should support with donations of money and/or goods. Thus over the years one begins to consider a range of influences on charitable donations, including external motivations to donate (Smith & McSweeney, 2007).

At the end of the 20 century, researchers such as Amos (1982), Guy and Patton (1989), Kelly (1995) and Bendapudi, Singh, and Bendapudi (1996) identified that some issues external to the individual could influence the donation of money/goods to charitable organizations. Amos (1982), for example, observed that people may be induced by their employer so to contribute to charitable organizations. The author also identified that people tend to donate for religious motivation as a way to secure their salvation. It is further stated that people can develop the habit of giving money and/or goods for political reasons, i.e., when a political aspirant contributes to a charitable organization aiming to build a reputation as a solid community leader.

At the end of the eighties, Guy and Patton (1989) made considerations about the need for philanthropic organizations to seek money donations to help them fulfill their purpose. They warned that the volume of money collection would determine the success of organizations in the mission of helping others. The authors also argued that organizations should be able to show, through historical data, positive results on the philanthropic work developed, as the reputation of a charity can obtain a new donor.

Furthermore, other authors (Banks & Tanner, 1999; Bendapudi et al., 1996; Kelly, 1995) compose the historical evolution of the first investigations on the external motivators of money and/or goods donation. The study by Kelly (1995), for example, noted that the credibility of the recipient organization could be an important attribute to positively influence the donation, as well as when the donor is benefited and/or rewarded by the act of charity, there may be greater interest in donating (Bendapudi et al., 1996). It was also found that seasonal effects may motivate donations, with a higher probability of it occurring in the fourth quarter (Banks & Tanner, 1999).

Giving continuity to studies which revealed external variables that motivate the acts of money donation, more research emerged with this focus from the year 2000 onwards and the approaches range from the appearance of the recipient of the donation (Sargeant & Woodliffe, 2007) to transparency in the accountability of charitable organizations, which, in this case, tends to be fundamental for the maintenance of money and/or goods donation (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013). In this regard, for Van Iwaarden, van der Wiele, Williams, and Moxham (2009), the need for better management of charitable organizations rises, aiming at the development of measures of internal efficiency and external effectiveness, since despite the amount of donations received, there are signs that donors are not satisfied with the performance of charitable organizations and most of them would like to know more about what happens with their donations.

Therefore, it is relevant to highlight that attributes related to the characteristics of charitable organizations were evidenced as important predictors of money donation. The very type of organization and the cause it advocates can interfere positively or negatively in a person's decision to donate money/goods (Okten & Weisbrod, 2000). In this context, according to Bowman (2006), the clarity of an organization's mission and the trust assigned to its leader tend to interfere positively with the decision to donate, which can generate more trust in charitable organizations (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011c), as well as the influence of image and brand, studied by Michel and Rieunier (2012), also tends to be related to the choice of charitable organization to which the individual will assist with money and/or goods donation.

Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013) found positive effects on seven external variables that tended to interfere in some way with the behavior of money/goods donor: Rules and regulations, transparency in accountability, media influence, interest in sweepstakes, beneficiaries seen as innocent, influential donors and geographic range of campaigns. In the last item, it should be noted that there is a strong tendency for donors to prefer donating to national causes, i.e., for campaigns intended to benefit people from their own country.

In the same way that the characteristics of the organizations related to their management can interfere positively in money donation, we also observed that other external motivators tend to promote donation, such as climate influence. In the study by Bekkers and Wiepking (2007), it is evidenced that people are more likely to donate money to charity when the weather is milder. In this same study, the authors pointed out that individuals are more likely to donate at commemorative times, such as Christmas, however, in cases of economic recession, this behavior may not be repeated, because according to Breeze and Morgan (2009), individuals tend to donate less in periods of economic crisis.

For Smith and McSweeney (2007), a catastrophic natural phenomenon tends to significantly raise the level of contribution from individual donors, suggesting that the consciousness of need of a population influences charitable donations (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011c). In another study, Bekkers and Wiepking (2011b) conducted an extensive research on predictors of donation and highlighted several other attributes that tend to have a strong relationship with individual money donation: the fact that the individual is accompanied when one is asked to donate; the fact that the individual obtains a gift from the recipient of the donation; the very act of requesting or inviting the individual to donate, and, in this regard, when the request is done personally, the tendency of the response being positive increases even more if the requestor has some physical appeal. In addition, the requestor's gender can also positively influence donations, since men tend to donate more when they receive requests from attractive women (Landry, Lange, List, Price, & Rupp, 2005). The use of celebrities in donation campaigns is also considered in the investigations by Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013), as they tend to increase the level of public confidence in charitable organizations, since ordinary citizens may feel a special bond with a celebrity and become more willing to donate.

In a recent study on the external motivators of donations of money/goods conducted by Mainardes, Laurett, Degasperi, and Lasso (2015), the author identified that the choice for the charitable organization can also be motivated when individuals perceive that the beneficiary organization does not receive government aid. Moreover, this same study shows that the value of the regular contribution tends to interfere with the decision to donate money to a charity, i.e., the lower the value of the contribution, it is possible to increase the number of donors of money and consequently the amount collected. Mainardes et al. (2015) also emphasized that the service provided to the donor tends to be essential in maintaining this donation.

In summary, through the various studies cited in this literature review, we identified forty-nine external variables that, in some way, can favor the individual donation of money. These variables are shown in Table 1.

Table 1.

External motivators that favor the donation of money.

No.  Variables  Definition of variables 
01  Campaigns geographical amplitude  Donors tend to donate more for national campaigns (Casale & Baumann, 2013; Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
02  Appearance of the donation beneficiary  A beneficiary with a good image tends to be more likely to be considered worthy of donation (Sargeant & Woodliffe, 2007
03  Donor service  Donor service is essential for maintaining the donation of money and/or goods (Mainardes et al., 2015
04  Beneficiaries seen as innocent  Donor's perception of beneficiary being innocent increases donation propensity (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
05  Catastrophe  Individuals tend to donate in times of environmental catastrophes and public calamities (Smith and McSweeney, 2007
06  Climate conditions  Individuals are more likely to donate money to charity when the weather is mild, neither too hot nor too cold (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2007
07  Trust in the organization  When the beneficiary organization inspires trust, individuals are more willing to make donations (Van Iwaarden et al., 2009
08  Trust in the organization's leadership  The donor knowing the founder or director of the beneficiary organization can influence the donation process (Bowman, 2006
09  Contribution value  Low, regular and fixed donation contribution tends to increase donation of money (Mainardes et al., 2015
10  Conditional cooperation  Individuals donate more money when they have the information that other individuals also donate (Wiepking & Heijnen, 2011
11  Credibility of the organization  The credibility of the beneficiary organization tends to influence the donation process (Kelly, 1995
12  Influential donors  Releasing influential donor names can promote positive donor engagement (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
13  Leadership effect  Observing other individuals donating can influence donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2007
14  Seasonal effects  Individuals tend to donate more in the fourth quarter of the year (Banks & Tanner, 1999
15  Efficiency and effectiveness of the organization  The beneficiary organization being efficient and effective in using the resources and executed projects tends to obtain more donors (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011c; Scaife et al., 2012
16  Companion influence  Individuals accompanied at the time of being invited to make the donation are more likely to donate (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b
17  Requestor's gender  Male individuals tend to donate more when they receive requests from attractive women (Landry et al., 2005
18  Image of the organization  The image that donors have in relation to the beneficiary organization contributes to the donation (Michel & Rieunier, 2012
19  Celebrity influence  Using a celebrity as a spokesperson tends to increase donation (Michel & Rieunier, 2012
20  Economy influence  Individuals tend to donate less in case of economic recession (Breeze & Morgan, 2009
21  Church influence  Frequency of church attendance increases the amount donated (Schuyt et al., 2004
22  Acquaintances influence  An individual can donate because their acquaintances actively support this behavior (Grace & Griffin, 2006
23  Influence of commemorative dates  At commemorative dates, individuals tend to be more prone to donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2007
24  Employer influence  When an individual is induced by an employer to make donations (Amos, 1982
25  Brand image of the organization  The brand image of the beneficiary organization tends to influence donors (Michel & Rieunier, 2012
26  Mission of the organization  Clarity about the mission of the beneficiary organization may favor donation (Bowman, 2006
27  Religious motivation  Individuals tend to donate to religion in exchange for spiritual benefits or eternal salvation (Amos, 1982
28  Political motivation  Individuals tend to donate to the beneficiary organization to build up a political image (Amos, 1982
29  Lack of public funding  Individuals donate more money and/or goods when they realize that the beneficiary organization does not receive government aid (Mainardes et al., 2015
30  Tax benefit  It refers to tax benefits when making donations (Wiepking, 2009
31  Participating in specific groups  The individual who is part of a particular group (e.g., Association, Club) tends to increase the donation (Wiepking & Maas, 2009
32  Interest in sweepstakes  Donate and win a ticket to participate in a prize draw (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
33  Interest in future service  Donor may require that organization in the future (Amos, 1982
34  Social pressure  Individuals feeling pressured to donate tend to donate less (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2007
35  Reciprocity  The individual tends to donate for reciprocity, for example, when one receives an invitation from any organization for a dinner (DeHaven, 2010
36  Public acknowledgment  Publicly acknowledging the donor's name tends to increase donation (DeHaven, 2010
37  Rules and regulations  Beneficiary organizations being subject to well-defined donation rules and regulations tend to increase receiving donations (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
38  Reputation of the organization  The reputation of the beneficiary organization tends to interfere in the decision of the individual to make the donation (Guy & Patton, 1989
39  Receiving reward  Benefits perceived by the individual when making donations. Ex: gifts, among others (Bendapudi et al., 1996
40  Consciousness of need  When the donor becomes aware of the need to donate to that purpose (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2007
41  Identification of the donor  The individual uses some object to be identified as a donor (Grace & Griffin, 2009
42  Receiving gifts  Individuals tend to donate more to obtain a present from the beneficiary of the donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b
43  Being invited to donate  The request/invitation tends to increase donors’ donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b
44  Donation request held personally  The individual tends to accept the donation request when it is done personally (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b
45  Physical appearance of the requestor  Individuals who are more physically attractive tend to get more donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b
46  Type of organization  The type of organization and the cause it advocates interfere with the decision to donate (Okten & Weisbrod, 2000
47  Transparency in accountability  Transparency in accountability tends to be fundamental for maintaining the donation (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
48  Use of media and technology  Media use via technology tends to increase donation (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013
49  Use of the “love” concept  Using the concept of “love” in campaigns can promote donation (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011c
Source: Prepared by the author.

In this topic, we sought to identify as many external motivating variables as possible that favor the individual donation of money. However, we consider that it may be very difficult for managers of charitable organizations to manage a wide range of variables such as those presented in Table 1, thus rises the need to group them as to facilitate the understanding of all of them by the managers of charitable organizations. Their use can be encouraged to stimulate potential donors or even direct marketing campaigns focusing on those individuals most likely to donate.

Research methodology

To achieve the objective of this study, which is to identify external motivating factors that favor individual money donations by Brazilians, we adopted a quantitative approach, with a cross-sectional and descriptive character.

The population defined for this research is formed by regular Brazilian individual donors of money. Therefore, to participate in this study, the individual should claim to be a regular donor of money, even if one does not have a defined regularity (weekly, monthly, etc.).

We chose a non-probabilistic sampling procedure by accessibility, since the quantity of the population investigated is unknown. In this regard, as part of the sample we included 1073 Brazilian individuals of various ages, gender, level of education, residents in small and large cities who claimed to make regular, individual money donations. We aimed at obtaining the sample as diversified as possible, avoiding to focus on only one type of donation or charitable organization.

For the data collection, we elaborated a questionnaire that contemplated 49 statements based on the external motivating variables of individual money donation identified in the literature review (Table 1), 11 questions for the characterization of the sample and one control question.

At the top of the questionnaire we present the first three questions, with the first one being related to the control question and the other two on the characterization of the sample. For the control question we asked: “Do you make regular money donations?”. The options were “Yes, money (or new goods, such as food, for example)”, “No”. If the respondent reported “No”, they were excluded from the sample. Then, two questions were inserted to start the characterization of the sample, one to know the frequency with which the respondent made the donations and the other to know how long the donations were conducted for. In the sequence, we requested the respondent to answer the questionnaire thinking in a general manner, how the donor of money behaves, indicating their degree of agreement with respect to the 49 statements. These statements were accompanied by a Likert scale, in which the respondents’ answers ranged from 1 (“Totally disagree”) and 5 (“Totally agree”). At the end of the questionnaire, a further nine questions were inserted to finalize the characterization of the sample: age, gender, marital status, whether one has children, level of education, occupation, monthly income, region where one lives in and the size of the city.

The questionnaire was created in “Googledocs” and its first application was an initial test conducted with a controlled sample of 16 interviewed donors who belonged to the study population. After the validation of the content, the questionnaire link was distributed, electronically by e-mail to 2200 individuals. The link of the questionnaire was also shared through social media such as Facebook and the Whatsapp application, with the respondent being invited to share the questionnaire in their contacts network. Furthermore, we distributed in technical schools, colleges and churches, 750 printed questionnaires, of which 480 returned. The survey was conducted between the months of May to July 2015. At the end of the data collection, we obtained 1073 answers, all considered as valid.

In order to verify that the sample used in the research was adequate to respond to the purpose of this investigation, we performed the characterization of the profile of the donors participating in the research. In this analysis, we observed that 66.4% of respondents were female. Most were married (40.4%) and that 51.7% do not have children. With regard to age, a higher concentration was observed among people aged from 25 to 30 (21.01%), 19 to 24 years (18%) and 31 to 36 years (17.5%). Regarding education, 42.5% of respondents had completed secondary education and 27.3% had completed higher education. In addition, the majority of respondents declared that they were employees (70.1%), whose most frequent individual income is above 1 and up to 3 minimum wages. The sample was formed by respondents living in urban areas (68.7%), however, the majority reside in small cities (46.4%). With regard to the periodicity of donation, the majority of respondents (58%) admitted to donating frequently, but with no regularity defined. Next is the monthly donation (19.1%). Among those who donate regularly, 28.8% assumed to making donations for over 10 years and 21% between 3 and 5 years.

Finally, upon completion of this first analysis, we found that the typical donor profile described in the literature diverged at some points to the profile observed in the used sample. That is, we can consider that, except for some particularities, such as age, number of children and level of education, the Brazilian donor resembles the donor from different parts of the world, a result of the characteristics observed in the scientific literature on the subject. Therefore, we consider that the sample obtained is adequate for the exploratory factor analysis, presented in the following section.

Analysis of results

In order to identify the external motivating factors that favor individual money donations and to achieve the central objective of this research, we performed an exploratory factor analysis. Thus, after performing the varimax orthogonal rotation, 46 variables were synthesized resulting in 8 factors, as described in Table 2.

Table 2.

Components of factors with varimax rotation.

Factor  Variable  Factor loading 
F1Trust in the organization  .760 
Credibility of the organization  .632 
Trust in the organization's leadership  .616 
Catastrophe  .591 
Consciousness of need  .536 
Image of the organization  .535 
F2Receiving gifts  .748 
Identification of the donor  .737 
Reciprocity  .691 
Receiving a reward  .684 
Public acknowledgment  .450 
Physical appearance of the requestor  .427 
F3Leadership effect  .616 
Seasonal effects  .605 
Influential donors  .574 
Conditional cooperation  .565 
Requestor's gender  .536 
Celebrity influence  .528 
Efficiency and effectiveness of the organization  .495 
Companion Influence  .485 
F4Type of organization  .653 
Transparency in accountability  .644 
Use of media and technology  .608 
Use of the “love” concept  .563 
Being invited to donate  .508 
Rules and regulations  .484 
F5Church influence  .682 
Acquaintances influence  .672 
Influence of commemorative dates  .526 
Economy influence  .456 
Employer influence  .456 
Brand image of the organization  .405 
Lack of public funding  .382 
F6Contribution value  .596 
Mission of the organization  .590 
Political motivation  .555 
Tax benefit  .543 
Religious motivation  .465 
F7Physical appearance of the requestor  .750 
Donor service  .559 
Campaigns geographical amplitude  .543 
Beneficiaries seen as innocent  .518 
Climate conditions  .492 
F8Participating in specific groups  .648 
Interest in future service  .543 
Interest in sweepstakes  .501 
Source: Research data. Developed by the authors.

The result of the analysis organized the variables by order of importance of each variable for each factor. By observing Table 2, we were able to verify the loading of each component in the factor composition. A factor loading represents the correlation between an original variable and the factor. That is, it indicates how much each variable is associated with each factor generated. The minimum acceptable value for the contribution of the variable to a factor loading is 0.40. However, the contribution of the variable “Lack of public financing” is 0.382, close to the acceptable minimum, and was therefore maintained.

Following the analysis, we performed the KMO test and the Bartlett's sphericity test. The KMO is used to verify how much of the data variance can be explained, simultaneously, by all the variables and consequently to say if the size of the sample was adequate to the number of variables. The KMO obtained a value of 0.946, and since the desirable parameter for this test is a value that is close to 1, we can consider that the sample used in this research is adequate to the number of items investigated. Bartlett's sphericity test presented a p-value of 0.000. This means that data are not correlated as a null hypothesis and that there are relations between the questions, thus justifying the application of the exploratory factorial analysis.

Subsequently, as a way of demonstrating the proportion of contribution of the variance of each variable to the generation of the factors, we analyzed the commonalities between the indicators. For research in administration, loadings of a value greater than 0.30 are considered acceptable, above 0.50 are moderately important and above 0.70 are very important. Thus, out of the initial 49 variables (Table 1), the following variables did not meet the criterion of community acceptance and were excluded from the exploratory factor analysis: social pressure, reputation of the organization and donation request held personally. Thus, the exploratory factor analysis was performed with 46 variables.

After performing the validity tests of the analysis, we tried to name the 8 factors, as presented in Table 3.

Table 3.

Factor names.

Factor 1 – trust  Factor 2 – reward 
Trust in the organization  Receiving gifts 
Credibility of the organization  Identification of the donor 
Trust in the organization's leadership  Reciprocity 
Catastrophe  Receiving a reward 
Consciousness of need  Public acknowledgment 
Image of the organization  Physical appearance of the requestor 
Factor 3 – leadership influence  Factor 4 – characteristics of the organization 
Leadership effect  Type of organization 
Seasonal effects  Transparency in accountability 
Influential donors  Use of media and technology 
Conditional cooperation  Use of the concept of “love” 
Requestor's gender  Being invited to donate 
Celebrity influence  Rules and regulations 
Efficiency and effectiveness of the organization   
Influence of the companion   
Factor 5 – environmental influences  Factor 6 – personal benefits 
Church Influence  Contribution value 
Acquaintances influence  Mission of the organization 
Influence of commemorative dates  Political motivation 
Economy influence  Tax benefit 
Employer influence  Religious motivation 
Brand image of the organization   
Lack of public funding   
Factor 7 – characteristics of beneficiaries  Factor 8 – future interests 
Physical appearance of the requestor  Participating in specific groups 
Donor service  Interest in future service 
Campaigns geographical amplitude  Interest in sweepstakes 
Beneficiaries seen as innocent   
Climate conditions   
Source: Research data. Developed by the authors.

As shown in Table 3, we can affirm that the grouping of the original variables allowed in a coherent way, the generation of the 8 external motivating factors that favor individual money donation.

With the orthogonal varimax rotation, we estimate that the factors have a proportional variation in order to represent the data in the best possible way. Thus, Table 4 presents the 8 factors defined from the 46 variables tested with their respective variances and reliability indicators (Cronbach's alpha).

Table 4.

Total variance explained.

Components  Rotation sums of squared loadingsCronbach's alpha 
  Total  % of variance  % accumulated   
1 – Trust  3.95  8.60  8.60  0.802 
2 – Reward  3.92  8.53  17.13  0.812 
3 – Leadership influences  3.71  8.07  25.21  0.84 
4 – Characteristics of the organization  3.15  6.85  32.07  0.801 
5 – Environmental influences  2.78  6.05  38.12  0.795 
6 – Personal benefit  2.57  5.59  43.71  0.75 
7 – Characteristic of beneficiaries  2.53  5.51  49.23  0.712 
8 – Future interest  1.92  4.17  53.41  0.62 
Source: Research data. Developed by the authors.

By observing Table 4, we can see that a value is attributed to each one of the factors, as well as their respective variances. The 8 factors together can explain 53.41% of the total data variability. Although the criterion of acceptability of the variance established by Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson, and Tatham (2009) is 60%, given the exploratory nature of this study and considering that there are still the personal characteristics of the individual that can motivate the donations, which are independent of external motivations, possibly the remainder of the variance tends to be explained by internal donor motivators. This allows us to accept the variance of 53.41% pointed out in this study.

We can also note, by observing the percentage of the variance of each factor, that there is no predominant factor to explain the suggested model, that is, the explanatory percentages of each factor show a certain balance on the external motivators that favor individual donation of money. This means that external motivators vary from donor to donor, which shows that it is necessary to group the donors into groups that are homogeneous between each other and heterogeneous between groups, something that can be done in future studies.

We can further observe that, the first three factors presented, respectively, 8.6%, 8.5% and 8.0% of the total variability of the model, suggesting that the degree of importance of these first three factors are virtually the same, followed by factors 4 and 5, which explain 6.85% and 6.5% of the total variance of the model. Factors 6 and 7 then explained 5.59% and 5.51% of the total variance, and finally factor 8, which explained 4.17% of the total model variance.

By analyzing each factor generated individually, we notice that factor 1 “Trust”, responsible for the responsible for the explanation of 8.6% of the variance, corroborates the studies by Kelly (1995), Bekkers (2003), Bowman (2006), Smith and McSweeney (2007), Bekkers and Wiepking (2007), Van Iwaarden et al. (2009), and Michel and Rieunier (2012). This trust can be generated in donors by the level of credibility of the organization, possibly by the way it works its image before society, including by means of its leadership. Trust in a donation relationship can be so relevant that Bekkers (2003) conducted a research to investigate exclusively the trust in the process of donation and philanthropy of the Dutch. In this study, Bekkers (2003) concluded that, in addition to trust in the organization, individuals need to have a social trust, as if it were a broader level of trust, that involved the process of accreditation of society toward their own country. In this regard, by evaluating the “Trust” factor, one can consider that, according to the respondents, this factor is an important external motivator that favors the donation of money, consistent with the results of Bekkers (2003).

The second factor, “Rewards”, is responsible for explaining 8.53% of the variance, demonstrating consistency with the findings of Bendapudi et al. (1996), Grace and Griffin (2009), DeHaven (2010) and Bekkers and Wiepking (2011b). These authors also argued that individuals may be motivated to donate money when realizing that they will somehow be rewarded for the act of accomplished charity. This reward can be in the form of a physical gift, such as when the donor receives a gift for having donated (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011b), or even receiving a ribbon identifying one as a donor (Grace & Griffin, 2009). The donor may also feel rewarded in receiving intangible gifts, such as public recognition, as highlighted by the researchers Grace and Griffin (2009) by claiming that the act of donating to charitable causes can be driven by the visible display of the donation made or the public recognition of the donation. Thus, consistent with previous research, we can suggest that, for the researched donors, individuals can donate money by being motivated by rewards.

The third factor, “Leadership influences” explained 8.07% of the total variance of the model and corroborate the investigations of Banks and Tanner (1999), Landry et al. (2005), Bekkers and Wiepking (2007), Wiepking and Heijnen (2011), Bekkers and Wiepking (2011b), Bekkers and Wiepking (2011c), Michel and Rieunier (2012), Scaife, McDonald, and Wiepking (2012) and Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013). This factor groups variables that are in some way linked to the act of giving, following the example and by the desire to repeat a behavior of some special person. This person can be an idol, a famous person or an admirable leader. According to Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013), people may be motivated to donate money by having rich, famous or respected individuals as their leaders and donors, since ordinary people can feel a special affection for a celebrity and become more willing to give. This motivation may also arise with seasonal effects at certain times of the year, such as in the third quarter for example, in which many people become more sensitive to donations of money because these are periods in which there are several donation campaigns and consequently many people donating (Banks & Tanner, 1999). Thus, according to the literature and as indicated by the result of this research we estimate that people may be motivated to donate by influences of leaderships considered significant by them.

Factor 4, “Characteristics of the organization”, explained 6.85% of the variance and pointed out the importance that people attribute to organizations regarding, for example, transparency in accountability, the type of organization and whether the rules and norms of the organization are clear. This factor the findings by Okten and Weisbrod (2000), Bekkers and Wiepking (2011a, 2011b, 2011c), and Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013). It is estimated that, according to the characteristics of the organization, the donor can become more or less sensitive to the donation of money (Bekkers & Wiepking, 2011a). Thus, we perceived through the donors researched, the importance of the factor “Characteristics of the organization” as an external motivation for the individual donation of money.

Regarding factor 5, “environmental influences”, it is responsible for explaining 6.05% of the variance. The variables that composed this factor were also part of the research by Amos (1982), Schuyt et al. (2004), Grace and Griffin (2006), Bekkers and Wiepking (2007), Breeze and Morgan (2009), Wiepking (2009), Michel and Rieunier (2012) and Mainardes et al. (2015). This group indicates that individuals can be influenced to donate money by known people, governments, churches, the economy, employers and even by the brand of the charitable organization. According to Wiepking (2009), the influential role of the church over the behavior of the individual donor has grown considerably. This demonstrates the influence of the church in the process of individual donation of money. For Mainardes et al. (2015), the fact for the charitable organization not receiving public funding makes individuals more motivated to make their donations. Thus, these studies can be said to support the formation of the group “Environmental influences”, and suggests that the variables contained in this factor are grouped coherently, leading us to the finding that factor 5 brings together a set of external motivators that favor individual money donation.

With the lower percentages we present the last three factors: 6 “Personal benefits”, which explained 5.59% of the total variance of the model; 7 “Characteristics of beneficiaries”, responsible for the explanation of 5.51% of the variance; and, lastly, factor 8 “Future Interests” that explains only 4.17% of the variance. These constructs were also investigated by Amos (1982), Bowman (2006), Sargeant and Woodliffe (2007), Van Leeuwen and Wiepking (2013), Bekkers and Wiepking (2007), Wiepking and Maas (2009), Casale and Baumann (2013) and Mainardes et al. (2015).

In the case of factor 6, “Personal benefits”, it indicates that individuals can make donations when they realize that they will be benefited in some way, whether by saving on the total value being donated (by opting for a regular donation, but with a low value), or by receiving tax benefits, or even by receiving a spiritual benefit, as can occur when the motivation of the individual is of a religious nature. The study by Amos (1982), for example, had already addressed that people could start donating in exchange for spiritual benefits or to receive eternal salvation. Wiepking (2009) concluded that the strategy of some countries to encourage the use of tax benefit for income tax deduction can be very helpful in increasing the amount donated to charity. These benefits were also evidenced by the donors surveyed as important to motivate the donation of money.

On factor 7, “Characteristics of beneficiaries”, we can say that this factor reflects the importance that people attribute to the characteristics of those individuals who will benefit from their donation. Contrary to what many may imagine, a beneficiary with a good image tends to be considered more deserving of the gift (Sargeant & Woodliffe, 2007), as well as those who are seen as innocent (children and the elderly), for example, tend to receive more donations (Van Leeuwen & Wiepking, 2013). Thus, consistent with the existing literature, the respondents pointed out the importance of the variables that make up this factor.

The last factor is 8 “Future Interests”, which reflects people's interest in donating money because they are involved in specific groups (associations and clubs) and wish in a certain way to remain in these groups; or even due to the concern in needing the services offered by certain charitable organizations, such as those focused on fighting cancer or those who care for the elderly. There may also be an interest in donating to participate in sweepstakes. For Wiepking and Maas (2009), for example, people may be motivated to donate simply by acting according to the social norms of their group and/or to be accepted by these groups. The authors also said that participation in specific groups, such as the Rotary Club, increases the likelihood of donations.

For Amos (1982), the donor can be motivated by direct personal interests, as in the case of contributions to cancer, heart or lung. It is estimated, in this case, that the individual may be motivated to donate due to their fear of needing these services in the future. In this regard, according to the respondents of this survey and as recommended in the literature, it can be said that factor 8 “Future interests” has been grouped coherently and also explains some of the external motivations that favor the donation of money.

As a way of validating the obtained factors, the reliability of each factor was extracted. The reliability of the factors can be classified into 5 levels: lower than 0.6 is considered low and unacceptable, between 0.6 and 0.7 moderate, between 0.7 and 0.8 good, between 0.8 and 0.9 very good and above 0.9 the reliability is excellent. Thus, when analyzing the reliability of each factor through Cronbach's alpha (Table 4), we found that the first 4 factors have levels of reliability considered as “very good”, because the Cronbach's alpha of these factors are greater than 0.8. Factors 5, 6 and 7 can be classified as of good reliability, since their alphas reached a rating between 0.7 and 0.8. Only factor 8 was rated with moderate reliability because its alpha was 0.62, which is considered acceptable in exploratory research.

Finally, the formation of the eight factors allows a greater understanding of the external motivators that favor individual donation of money within the scope of the research. It also allows new variables to be analyzed and included in the proposed groups as a way to seek the improvement and effectiveness of the marketing manager and/or charitable organizations that do the job of identifying and attracting new money donors.

In summary, one can consider that the factorial structure obtained coherently expresses the external motivating factors that favor money individual donation, because it converges the opinion of the respondents with the researched literature on the subject.

Conclusions and recommendations

In the present study, we seek to identify external motivating factors that favor individual money donation. At the end of the analysis, we can conclude that the factors Trust, Reward, Leadership influences, Characteristics of the organization, Environmental influences, Personal Benefit, Characteristics of beneficiaries and Future interest systematize the various external motivators present in the literature that motivate the act of donating money. We also noticed that there is no predominant factor, which leads to the conclusion that, in the view of the donors from the sample, all 8 factors appear to be external motivators of individual donation of money.

The results of this study indicate theoretical contributions and practical implications. Theoretically speaking, the main contribution of this research is to synthesize in 8 factors the variables previously analyzed in isolation, something not yet identified in the current literature on the topic. Another contribution is to explore, exclusively, only the external motivators leading to money donation, which was not done by any other study used as a reference for the development of this research. The existing literature does not separate the internal and external motivators for the individual donation of money, although they are distinct.

Regarding practical implications, we analyzed in this study, in a systematic way, the external motivators that favor money donation, providing, through the 8 factors, information that may be useful to improve the management process of marketing managers of charitable organizations (Table 2). In knowing the reasons that lead to the individual money donation, the marketing manager can define the focus of their campaign, how to approach and the best time to do it. In addition, one can also devise strategies to implement, for example, a system of people's trust indicator toward their charity. Another alternative is to partner with strong and well-established groups already established in the market, such as churches, Rotary, Masonic lodges, etc., as such organizations also appeared as influential in individual behavior of money donation. Managers will also be able to plan campaigns to attract new donors based on concrete information on the characteristics of beneficiaries and to better plan how to approach potential donors.

From the identified factors, society, generally speaking, will be able to promote discussions about the external motivators of money donating in the social groups in which they participate, such as churches, senior citizens groups, youth groups, family groups, among others, as a way to help increase money donations. Also, the results achieved here can contribute to the development of governmental or even social campaigns, encouraging money donation to charitable organizations. Knowing the external motivators that mobilize people to the act of donating money can be a powerful element in strengthening charitable organizations.

Despite the theoretical and practical contributions of the study, it should be noted that there are other variables and other factors that may be considered as external motivators of individual money donation, with this presented as one of the study's limitations. With regard to the sample of regular donors, even though it is heterogeneous, as demonstrated in the characterization of the sample, it indicated a predominance of younger respondents, due to the application of the questionnaire being performed in schools of technical education, universities and electronic means, which is configured as a limitation of the study. We recommend in subsequent studies to broaden the sample and to reach more regular adult and elderly donors in order to verify whether the answers diverge from the ones obtained here. If this occurs, this could mean that external motivators vary according to the characteristics of the donor. This issue can be resolved with subsamples, separating them by groups of respondents who have similar characteristics or behaviors. For example, separating by age, since findings from previous surveys clarify that there are different behaviors between young people and older people (e.g., in Apinunmahakul and Devlin, 2008), or frequency of donation. The perceptions of women can also be evaluated, since the literature says that women donate more than men (Bachke et al., 2014).

Another limitation is related to the low percentage of variance explained. We assume that the personal characteristics of each individual also tend to interfere with the behavior of money donor and this may have affected the explained variance percentage. In this case, one can solve the issue by performing a research that also contemplates the personal characteristics as motivators for the individual donation of money.

Finally, for the accomplishment of future research that continue the study we begun here, we recommend applying a qualitative research to conduct an in-depth investigation of the 8 factors generated in this study, as a way of understanding how each of them can contribute to improve the marketing management of charitable organizations. We also recommend applying the research to other audiences, from different regions or even considering new variables not yet observed by researchers in the area.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


This research was supported by Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq/Brazil) - project 303669/2015-2.

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Peer Review under the responsibility of Departamento de Administração, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade da Universidade de São Paulo – FEA/USP.

Corresponding author at: Avenida Fernando Ferrari, 1358 CEP 29075-505, Vitória, ES, Brazil. (Nivea Coelho Degasperi