Social class marketing failures

Written by Mark Evans

Charities could be losing donations because they do not tailor campaigns to individual social classes.

According to DaHee Han, assistant professor of marketing at Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University in Canada, many fund-raising advertisements do not consider the motivations of potential donors, and so are unable to appeal to them.
Han, with colleauges Lalwani and Duhachek, considered individual’s perception of their place in the social hierarchy and the degree to which they accept this.

Han noted: “Although logic would suggest that those who perceive themselves as higher in the social hierarchy would be more likely to donate to charity, our research suggested the opposite. In fact, we found that people who consider themselves to be on lower societal levels are more inclined to give charitably in order to endorse societal equality.”

Han points to the fact that those at the lower societal levels tend to have greater empathy to those in need, whilst those at the higher end emphasise the opportunities that are available.

Han contends that in order to increase donations, fundraising campaigns must be targeted properly at these demographics.

Han says: “For those who perceive themselves to be lower in the social hierarchy fundraising adverts that ask the reader to ‘help make the community a better place’ will resonate well. These calls to action emphasise the mutual gains charity can accomplish, and will attract a potential donor.

“Yet for those who perceive themselves to have power emphasising the benefits to their own self will be most effective. Campaigns that suggest how you will ‘feel good for giving’ or similar messages are likely to resonate well. In this way, advertising must be targeted in order to maximise results from donors with differing motivations.”

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