Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2013

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Service Marketing/ Non-Profit Marketing/ Ethics

Publication Date



In the current study we explore a multidimensional conceptualization of arousal to better understand the effect of donation appeals incorporating negative messages on intention to give. More specifically, an experiment is conducted to determine whether varying the level of message negativity has an impact on donor intentions to give where the mechanism by which intentions increase is examined. Using structural equation modeling, the relationship between message negativity, two dimensions of arousal (tension and energy) and intention to donate is estimated. We collected data using the background of an on-campus fund raising program for abused Afghani women held at a mid-size, southern university. The university’s freshman reading program using the book “Three Cups of Tea” generated a student fund raising initiative to support an educational initiative in Afghanistan. We developed a simulated donation message to induce activation/arousal and then measured arousal and intention to give. Two descriptions of the life of women in Afghanistan were developed as the stimuli messages for the experiment and presented to the subjects under the heading “EDUCATION FOR AFGHAN WOMEN.” The scenarios were developed from the descriptions in “Three Cups of Tea” to portray a negative and arousal-producing situation. Scenario Two was designed to produce a higher level of arousal with description of assaults with acid and self- immolation. The findings suggest message negativity positively influences donor intentions to give via the generation of tension. While increased energy levels were also observed among participants exposed to more negative messages, this did not translate into greater donation intentions. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed

About the Authors

Robert E. Pitts received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He is currently a Professor of Marketing in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the School of Business at the College of Charleston. He has served as Dean of the School of Business and Economics at the College of Charleston and the College of Business Administration at Creighton University, Omaha. His publications have appeared in a number of outlets including the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Marketing Education, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Social Psychology, Southern Economic Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Promotion Management, Journal of Health Care Marketing, Journal of Global Marketing, Journal of Travel Research, Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism and Journal of Behavioral Economics.

Julia E. Blose received her Ph.D. from Florida State University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing and Chair of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the School of Business at the College of Charleston. Her publications have appeared in outlets including Health Marketing Quarterly, Quality Management Journal, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Benchmarking: An International Journal and Managing Service Quality.

Rhonda W. Mack received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. She is currently Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the School of Business at the College of Charleston. She has published in a variety of outlets including Quality Management Journal, Health Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Vacation Marketing, International Journal of Hospitality Management, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Advertising Research, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Managing Service Quality, Journal of Hospital Marketing and Journal of Health Care Marketing.

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