The effect of unavailable donation opportunities on donation choice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the context of charitable donation decisions, we demonstrate that adding information to the decision context about a fundraising campaign one cannot act on (i.e., an unavailable alternative) increases donations for the remaining, available campaign. At times, adding an unavailable alternative is even more effective at increasing the donation rate than adding an available alternative to the choice set, contradicting the normative assumption that having more options is better. We find preliminary evidence suggesting that the effect is driven by perceived impact—adding an unavailable alternative leads consumers to believe their donation will have a greater impact on the remaining cause. This investigation contributes to the consumer prosocial behavior literature by demonstrating the positive effect of unavailable alternatives on donation choice and identifying its extent and determinants. Future directions and practical implications for fundraising managers are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalMarketing Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2022


  • Donation
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Unavailable alternative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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