Nostalgia can boost donations

Nostalgia can boost donations

“Nostalgia does not just have positive effects for the nostalgic individual but also for others, as beneficiaries of charities,” an international team wrote in the latest edition of the ‘Journal of Consumer Research’.

The researchers set out to investigate whether nostalgia increases donor intentions and tangible donations to charity – and whether it’s a good idea to incorporate nostalgia in charity appeals.

In five studies, the researchers induced feelings of nostalgia by instructing participants to bring to mind a nostalgic autobiographical event. They then presented participants with a variety of charity appeals.

They then measured participants’ intentions toward young earthquake victims or children in relatively deprived rural area of China. In one study they measured concrete intentions to volunteer and donate.

In studies two to four, they examined more global intentions for volunteerism and monetary donations. And in study five, they measured tangible charitable behaviour.

“We have demonstrated that nostalgia augments empathy – based charitable intentions and behaviour. It is encouraging to learn that people can mine their nostalgic memories and derive from this a feeling of empathy for the suffering of others.

“Recent empirical findings have rendered this view highly questionable. Nostalgia is a predominantly positive emotion” the researchers said.

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