Does the Familiarity of the Charity
                      Influence Donations?

      You may think that a more familiar charity would receive more
money than a less familiar charity.   People may donate more money to a
well-known charity than a less-known charity because of a greater
perceived credibility.   However, some findings cast doubt on this idea.
   Thornton, Kirchner, and Jacobs (1991) conducted three studies
investigating the influence of charity familiarity.  These studies also
involved the investigation of the influence of photographs.  Two of the
studies involved door-to-door fundraising, and one of the studies involved
countertop displays in stores.  In all three studies, there was no
statistically significant difference between the well-known charity and the
less-known charity with respect to the amount donated.
   The findings of three studies cast doubt on the idea that a well-known
charity would receive more money than a less-known charity.  An
organization could strive to become better known before asking for
donations.  However, the findings from three studies suggest that this
may not be necessary.


Thornton, B., Kirchner, G., & Jacobs, J.  (1991).  Influence of a  
  Photograph on a Charitable Appeal:  A Picture May Be Worth a
  Thousand Words When It Has to Speak for Itself.  
Journal of
  Applied Social Psychology
, 21, 433-445.