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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Help Me Help You! Employing the Marketing Mix to Alleviate Experiences of Donor Sacrifice

  • Author(s): Bradford, Tonya Williams
  • Boyd, Naja Williams
  • et al.

Nonprofit organizations often rely on individuals to execute their mission of addressing unmet societal needs. Indeed, one of the most significant challenges facing such organizations is that of enlisting individuals to provide support through the volunteering of time or donation of money. To address this challenge, prior studies have examined how promotional messages can be leveraged to motivate individuals to support the missions of nonprofit organizations. Yet promotional messages are only one aspect of the marketing mix that may be employed. The present study examines how donor-based nonprofit organizations can employ the marketing mix—product, price, promotion, place, process, and people—to influence the experiences of sacrifice associated with donation. The authors do so through an ethnographic study of individuals participating in living organ donation. First, they identify the manifestation of sacrifice in donation. Next, they define three complementary and interactive types of sacrifice: psychic, pecuniary, and physical. Then, they articulate how the marketing mix can be employed to mitigate experiences of sacrifice that emerge through the donation process. The authors conclude by discussing implications for marketing practice and identifying additional research opportunities for sacrifice in the realm of donation.

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