The rapid development of the Internet in China has profoundly affected the country's charities, which many people support through online donations (e.g. providing financial help) and charity information forwarding (a new behavior of participating in online charities via social media). However, the development of online charities has been accompanied by many problems, such as donation fraud and fake charity information, which adversely affect social kindness. The purpose of this paper is to understand people's online donation and forwarding behaviors and to explore the mechanisms of such behaviors from the perspectives of cognitive-based trust and emotional-based empathic concern.
This study developed a research model based on the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and stimulus–organism–response (SOR) model. The researchers obtained 287 valid samples via a scenario-based experimental survey and conducted partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) to test the model.
The results indicated that (1) online donation intention is motivated by rational-based trust and emotional-based empathic concern; (2) online charity information forwarding is triggered only when trust is built, and there is no significant correlation between empathic concern and forwarding intention; and (3) content quality, initiator credibility, and platform reputation are three critical paths to promote trust; in addition, an individual's empathic concern can be motivated by the emotional appeal.
This study highlights the different mechanisms of donation and forwarding behaviors and provided theoretical measures for motiving trust and empathic concern in the online context to promote people's participation in online charity.
The authors greatly appreciate the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and constructive suggestions. Besides, this study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71874022); Social Science Planning Research Project of Shandong Province in China (No. 20DGLJ02); and Science and Technology Plan of Youth Innovation Team in Colleges and Universities of Shandong Province in China (No. 2019RWG031).
Chen, H., Li, W., Lyu, T. and Zheng, X. (2021), "Understanding people's participation in online charities: a dual-process approach of trust and empathic concern", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 7, pp. 1642-1663. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-09-2020-0513
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