Corporate sponsorships may hurt nonprofits: Understanding their effects on charitable giving

Christine M. Bennett, Hakkyun Kim, Barbara Loken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


While prior research suggests that corporate sponsorship can positively affect consumers' perceptions of sponsors, little research to date has investigated the impact of such sponsorships on an individual's willingness to support nonprofits. This paper investigates the psychological processes that underlie whether and how corporate sponsorship impacts an individual's willingness to support nonprofit organizations and suggests that unintended negative outcomes may emerge. Specifically, results from five studies suggest that exposure to sponsorship information can reduce prospective donors' willingness to support a nonprofit because people believe that their individual contributions will matter less. In addition, this research identifies a potential mechanism (i.e., donor-company identification) that can mitigate these negative effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-300
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partially supported by the Opus College of Business Summer Research Award in 2011 (awarded to C.M. Bennett), the Institute for Research in Marketing, Carlson School of Management (awarded to B. Loken) and Carlson School of Management Dean's Small Grant (awarded to B. Loken). The authors thank Tianchi Hou, Marco Morelli and Wyatt Wenzel for research assistance in conducting interviews and experiments.


  • Charitable giving
  • Donation
  • Nonprofit marketing
  • Social loafing
  • Sponsorship


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