Elsewhere online
September 22, 2015

Element of Surprise Leads People to Give to Online Campaigns, Study Finds

The Internet is "not a magic bullet" for humanitarian fundraising appeals, with the source and style of an approach to donors mattering more than the medium, according to a University of East Anglia study cited by Science Daily, a compendium of research news.

Initially published in the journal International Communication Gazette, the study by Martin Scott of the British university's School of International Development tracked 52 British Internet users' responses to online appeals concerning overseas crises and identified key reasons they decline to give. These included a lack of trust in governments, major nonprofits, and nonnews information sources such as blogs and social media.

Participants reacted more positively to information from organizations they did not know well, such as Charity Navigator and Poverty.com, compared to traditional charities like Oxfam and Save the Children, to whose appeals people have become accustomed. "The key implication is that campaigns — both online and offline — often have to be surprising in order to be effective," Mr. Scott wrote.