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Study Suggests ‘Liking’ On Facebook Might Mean Less Giving

Update Date: Nov 11, 2013 09:02 AM EST

Potential donors prefer to skip giving when they are required to participate in the social media campaigns by fundraisers, a new study suggests.

The study performed at University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business found that social media campaigns are actually a demotivating factors as they offer users a psychological payoff.

Series of experiments showed that people become less interested in charity when offered the chance to show public support for charities in social media.

“Charities incorrectly assume that connecting with people through social media always leads to more meaningful support,” said Sauder PhD student Kirk Kristofferson in a statement released by the University. He also co-authored the Journal of Consumer Research article. The article is yet to be published.

“Our research shows that if people are able to declare support for a charity publicly in social media it can actually make them less likely to donate to the cause later on.”

The recent assertions that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are turning people into “slacktivists”, are backed up with the study results. It is making easier for people to relate themselves with a cause without actually committing anything to it.

During the study people were asked to engage in an initial act of free support for a social cause. This included joining a Facebook group, accepting a poppy or signing a petition. In the next stage they ware asked to donate money or volunteer for it.

Researchers found that larger the token of endorsement was, lesser was the support by people at later stage. If everything was done privately, like signing a petition confidentially, they were more likely to participate in the cause.

The researchers believe that because giving public endorsements satisfies the desire to look good to others, it ultimately reduces the urgency to give.

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