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It is well acknowledged that people are more likely to donate when they feel sad about the victim of an unfortunate situation and empathize with the victim. Although earlier research shows that depicting positive emotions such as happiness in a donation advertisement can make people less empathetic with the victim and thus less likely to donate, this study finds that combining the positive emotion of strength and the negative emotion of sadness in a donation ad can inspire people, resulting in a more positive evaluation and more donations than an ad that depicts either emotion alone.

Photo: Getty Images/Sergio Mendoza Hochmann

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