Saving the masses: The impact of perceived efficacy on charitable giving to single vs. multiple beneficiaries

AUTHORS: Professor Vicki Morwitz and Professor Eesha Sharma


People are more generous toward single than toward multiple beneficiaries, and encouraging greater giving to multiple targets is challenging. We identify one factor, perceived efficacy, which enhances generosity toward multiple beneficiaries. We investigate relationships between perceived self-efficacy (believing one can take steps to make an impact), response efficacy (believing those steps will be effective), and charitable giving. Four studies show that increasing perceived self-efficacy increases perceived response effi- cacy (Studies 1 and 2) and increases donations for multiple beneficiaries (Studies 1–4). Further, results show that boosting perceived self-efficacy enhances giving to a greater extent for multiple than for single beneficiaries (Studies 3 and 4). These effects emerge using various charitable giving contexts, efficacy manipulations, and measures of generosity.

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