IACM 2022 Abstract Book »
The Psychology of Charitable Receiving: Giver Spotlighting Negatively Impacts Recipients of Aid
Can subtle nuances in the way aid is provided negatively impact recipient psychology and aid utilization? The present research explores the practice of making salient to the aid recipient the existence of their individual giver, what we term giver spotlighting. To this end, we ran seven preregistered experiments (N = 4,808)—a Kenya-based field study and online experiments. We find that giver spotlighting negatively impacts recipients’ willingness to return for more aid and to recommend the aid organization to others in similar need-states. We show that the practice of giver spotlighting yields the negative reactions observed because thinking about one’s giver leads recipients to compare themselves to the giver and, consequently, see themselves as less agentic in comparison. Our results suggest that a deeper understanding into the recipients’ psychology is crucial to improve not only recipients’ experiences when receiving help, but also the continued uptake and utilization of aid globally.