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When does “liking” a charity lead to donation behaviour? Exploring conspicuous donation behaviour on social media platforms

Elaine Wallace (Department of Marketing, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Isabel Buil (Department of Marketing Management, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Leslie de Chernatony (Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 14 November 2017




This study aims to investigate the relationship between young people’s Conspicuous Donation Behaviour (CDB) on social media platforms and their offline donation behaviour, specifically intentions to donate and volunteer time. It also explores materialism, self-esteem and self-monitoring as CDB trait antecedents, as a form of conspicuous consumption on social media. Finally, it considers the influence of altruism on these relationships.


A survey was conducted of regular Facebook users mentioning a charity brand on Facebook in the past year. Data from 234 participants were analysed and hypotheses tested using structural equation modeling.


Results confirm two forms of CDB – self and other-oriented. Materialistic consumers are more likely to engage in both forms of CDB on Facebook. High self-esteem increases self-oriented CDB; high self-monitoring increases other-oriented CDB. Self-oriented CDB is positively associated with donation intentions, but other-oriented CDB is negatively associated. Findings reveal how altruism moderates this model.

Research limitations/implications

Findings show how personality traits influence CDB and reveal the relationship between CDB, as virtual conspicuous consumption on social media platforms, and donation behaviour.

Practical implications

The study provides implications for managers about enhancing charitable donations through social media.


This is the first study to explore donation behaviour as a form of conspicuous consumption on social media, where virtual conspicuous consumption (i) does not require any offline consumption and (ii) may achieve the desired recognition, without any charitable act. It provides new insights into CDB, its antecedents and influence on donation behaviour.



Wallace, E., Buil, I. and de Chernatony, L. (2017), "When does “liking” a charity lead to donation behaviour? Exploring conspicuous donation behaviour on social media platforms", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 No. 11/12, pp. 2002-2029.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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