Hedonic and Social Drivers of Millennials’ Engagement with and Donation to Nonprofits: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Bela Florenthal, William Paterson University

Bela Florenthal is an Associate Professor of Marketing at William Paterson University, in the Cotsakos College of Business. She received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. She has a diverse research background and has published substantially in her discipline. Her manuscripts have been published in the Journal of Marketing Education, Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, Marketing Education Review, International Journal of Online Marketing, International Journal of Business Environment, Young Consumers, International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, Marketing Management Journal, Journal of Services Marketing, and Sport Marketing Quarterly. She has published chapters and cases in edited books. She regularly presents at conferences, and she has published numerous manuscripts in conference proceedings. Recently, she received awards for best pedagogical paper and first place in a case study competition at Marketing EDGE 2017 Research Summit.


Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) have been increasingly utilizing social media outlets to target Millennials for donations of time and money. These organizations, however, do not always take advantage of the hedonic, social, and normative factors that can influence engagement with and monetary donation to these organizations.

Because monetary donation on SMSs is a relatively new field of investigation, there is only a handful of studies that provide insight into how social, hedonic, and normative motives predict engagement with and donation to nonprofits.

To address this gap, the first aim of the present study is to propose an integrated approach to monetary donations. Based on motivational theories, a hybrid approach is proposed to examine how three motivations—entertainment, interpersonal utility, and subjective norms—predict Millennials’ engagement with and donation to NPOs.

The second aim is to evaluate two cultural segments, U.S. and Middle Eastern, in applying the proposed model and identifying inherent similarities and differences.

The results indicate that the model preforms similarly in both cultures, except for two relationships. In Western culture, engagement with NPOs does not lead to monetary donations. In Middle Eastern culture, the hedonic motive does not predict donation intention. The findings on Middle Eastern culture add to the latest research related to monetary donations in countries with Islamic population.

Implications for practitioners are discussed.