Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Marketing



First Advisor

Zhiyong Yang


In two essays, this dissertation focuses on an important domain of research in marketing: how marketing communications affect individuals' donation. For example, Globalgiving provides a myriad of projects for potential donors to form their own donation "portfolio". However, research till date has put up little effort in identifying the potential differences between such causes which may influence donors' portfolio decision making process. To address this issue, the first essay breaks down the donation objects/causes into two components--namely environment-focused (e.g., ozone layer depletion) and humanitarian-focused (e.g., poverty)--and examines the differential effects of individuals' holistic/analytic thinking style on environmental/humanitarian gift-giving. Six studies provide consistent evidence to show that humanitarian and environmental causes differ in specificity, abstractness, and immediacy. In addition, analytic thinkers are more willing to donate to humanitarian causes than to environmental causes, whereas holistic thinkers are equally willing to donate to both. The mechanism underlying such effects is the level of empathy aroused by different causes. To further understand the effect of marketing appeals on donation, the second essay classifies organizational communications into transaction-oriented (e.g., asking for money directly) and relation-oriented appeals (e.g., updating potential donors about the development of the institution without asking for money), and examines their differential effects on individuals' donation over time. The longitudinal analysis shows that relation-oriented communications create greater degree of psychological closeness between the organization and the potential donors; as such, they are likely to have more prolonged effects on donation behavior than transaction-oriented communications.


Business | Marketing


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Marketing Commons