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The Identifiable Donor Effect


Marketing Seminar2018-05

Topic: The Identifiable Donor Effect

Speaker: Gao Leilei, Associate Professor of Marketing, CUHK Business School, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Time: Wednesday, 16 May, 13:30-15:00

Location: Room K01, Guanghua Building 2


Individuals often make anonymous donations to those in need, but it is unclear how the recipients react to donor anonymity. The present research shows that compared to receiving money from an unidentified donor, merely revealing the name of the donor can have a positive effect on the money recipients’ decision and behavior (e.g. working harder, allocating more money to purchase study-related items). We suggest that revealing the donor’s name can increase perceived donor specificity, which leads to greater recipients’ obligation to make good use of the money they received. A series of studies were conducted to test the identifiable donor effect and rule out the alternative accounts based on perceived supervision, donor generosity, cost to donor, psychological distance, probability of being chosen, and self-esteem. Our findings have important implications for charity organizations, philanthropists, and individual donors by suggesting a potential means to make prosocial behaviors more effective.



Gao Leilei is an associate professor with tenure at the marketing department of CUHK Business School, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research examines situational influences on individuals’ judgment and decision, goal-setting, goal-directed activities, and self-perception. Professor Gao’s research has been published in top-tier academic journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. Prior to joining CUHK, Professor Gao received her Ph.D. in marketing from Stanford University, her Master’s degree from UIUC, and her B.A. from Peking University.

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