The purpose of this paper is to examine whether individuals who prefer different volunteering organisations have different self‐concepts, whether individuals perceive their preferred volunteering organisation as more similar to their self‐concept than other volunteering organisations, and whether self‐congruity theory correctly predicts consumer (volunteer) behaviour differences across organisations and organisational missions.
Data were collected on people's preferred volunteering organisation, their self‐concept and their perceived image from eight volunteering organisations using an online self‐completion survey. Chi‐square tests and paired‐sample t‐tests were then used to identify significant differences between groups.
Individuals who prefer different volunteering organisations differ significantly in their self‐concept. For the three volunteering organisations with high levels of awareness and distinct images, self‐congruity theory held; that is, people who volunteer for them perceive those organisations as being more similar to their self‐concept than other volunteering organisations. For the four organisations with lower awareness and less distinct images, the authors found a tendency towards self‐congruity, but results were not significant. In one case, self‐congruity theory did not hold, possibly due to the more “obligatory” nature of the volunteering task.
This research extends the application of self‐congruity theory to the volunteering context. It identifies three key dimensions that affect the extent to which self‐congruity holds for volunteering organisations: brand awareness; image distinctiveness; and whether the involvement is actually “voluntary”.
Self‐congruity theory has the potential to be a valuable tool in helping volunteering organisations increase their productivity through better targeted marketing strategies.
This study is the first to apply self‐congruity theory to the volunteering sector at the organisation brand level, and gives practitioners an additional tool to improve the effectiveness of their marketing.
Randle, M. and Dolnicar, S. (2011), "Self‐congruity and volunteering: a multi‐organisation comparison", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 5, pp. 739-758. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561111120019
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