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Consumer Motivation In Charity Activity Events Marketing Essay

4977 words (20 pages) Essay in Marketing

5/12/16 Marketing Reference this

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My supervisor who reminded me that not all of us can be Shakespeare and gave me back my motivation. Thank You for all the help and answering my questions patiently.

Suze Dent, Kelly Rumble and Rachel from Race for Life

Thank You for letting me conduct my primary research at Hastings, Portsmouth and Swindon Race for Life events as well as providing me information about Race for Life.

Kunniakrouvari Aulis Mäkisen opintorahasto

Thank You for providing me grant towards my study fee.

My mom, dad and sisters

Thank You for supporting me throughout the year and making everything possible. Special thanks for my sister who patiently read my dissertation and gave me last minute help.

Wiebke Wohlfart

My housemate for knocking on my door.

I confirm that this dissertation is my own work and no part of it has been previously

published elsewhere or submitted as part of any other module assessment. Any errors

or omissions are my sole responsibility.

The contents list

Lähteet 23


Liite 1. Yrittäjyyteen liittyvien ongelmien merkitys 40

Liite 2. Ravintolan liiketoimintasuunnitelmamalli 40

Liite 3. Finnveran liiketoimintasuunnitelmamalli 42

Liite 4. Liiketoimintasuunnitelma: Kuulas sointu Oy 27


Charities are part of the everyday life of many people, just go to a high street in almost any town of United Kingdom and see the variety of the charity shops. Without even noticing it charities an


The original idea for this dissertation came from the writer’s interest to charity brands. Charities are not often considered in terms of brands although most of the charities and non-profit organizations have strong and recognizable images and would be no doubt recognized as brands if being products or other companies. Especially in United Kingdom charity shops and charity events are visible part of the local communities. Various charity events are organized around the country and gather number of participants.

In addition the writer wanted to establish motivations and decision-making of participants of charity activity events. General outlook of charity events could be that one must have emotional link for the charity to participate its events. Furthermore do some participants consider charity events as regular events and participate because of the actual activity of the event for example to run ten kilometers or rather participate for the charity?

Literature of motivations and decision making of event attendee’s are rather focused on festival and destination events. Thus no research focuses solely on charity event participant’s motivations and decision making. Some insight can be sought furthermore from the charity donor motivations but how these motivations co-exist with the motivations of festival attendee’s motivations and decision making. Can these two different motivational focuses be combined in order to research the charity event participant’s motivations and decision making or are charity event participant’s motivations purely different from other motivations.

Aims and objectives

In order to achieve this aim, the writer will pursue following objectives

To analyse the theories on customer motivation and behavior. (Secondary)

To review relevant literature on events as branding tool. (Secondary)

To analyse customers motivation towards attending charity events and conclusive factors of decision making. (Primary)

To examine impact of charity brands towards decision making. (Primary)

To draw conclusions on the customer motivations and decision making as well as impacts of the organization brand in charity events.

Chapter outlines

Chapter 2, the literature review

Chapter 3, the methodology explains the background for research and writer’s choice of research method with its advantages and limitations.

Chapter 4, the findings and analysis outlines the primary research findings about the decision making in charity activity events.

Chapter 5, the conclusion summarizes the key findings from both primary and secondary research and concludes the dissertation.

Literature Review

Literature review considers variety of aspect affecting the primary research.


The literature review discusses on key subjects related to the primary research beginning with overview of some of the most known motivational theories such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Motivation section provides the base to understand the next section, decision making which in this dissertation will focus on event consumer decision making together with comparison to product decision making. Literature review is furthermore discussing charities as brands and how events can be used as part of the branding. Literature review provides the base for the primary research and draws together different aspects that are relevant to understand in regard of the primary research.


As Dubois (2000, p. xi) suggests organizations are dependable on the flow of relationships between themselves and others around them to exist and grow. To control and enhance those relationships organizations must understand the behavior of consumers as well act upon that understanding. In charity and non-profit organizations where fundraising is the vital part of the company’s survival, understanding consumer motivations behind the decision making process becomes even more important for managers to achieve success.

Solomon (2004, p. 7) reminds that consumer behavior is simply put how consumer behaves in certain situations. Consumer adapts to a role accordingly for the circumstances and each different situation can create new kind of behavior from the consumer. Dubois (2000, p.7) argues that in decision making situations, consumer’s behavior can be analyzed by three questions “Who buys? How? And why?” All these are affecting each individual situation and consumers’ decision making varies by these three main variables.

Dubois (2004, pp. 9-10) demonstrated a figure “The three levels of explanation of buying and consumption behavior” which is structuring factors influencing consumer behavior and showing on which level these factors are influencing the consumer behavior.

As motivations are important part of decision making in consumer behavior one must also understand theories about motivation. Solomon(2004, p. 114)presents two different categories for motivational needs; utilitarian and hedonic. Utilitarian needs are the ones where one is trying to achieve functional or practical advantage whereas hedonic needs are more an experimental need absorbing fantasies and emotional reactions.

Allen et al (2008, pp. 263-265) divides motivational theories in to two categories; content and process theories. According to Allen et al.(2008, p. 263) content theories “concentrate on what things initially motivate people to act in a certain way” while process theories rather considers why person decides to behave in certain way to satisfy the initial need (p. 265). Next these different type of motivation theories are discussed beginning with the content theories.

One of the most recognized motivation theories is created by Abraham Maslow and is known as the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s motivational theory presents the content theories as it shows needs as the base for motivation (Allen et al. 2008, p. 263). Maslow classified needs in five basic categories increasing order of importance as shown in the figure; physiological needs, security needs, belonging needs and accomplishment needs (Maslow, 1987,p ). One must fill the need of the first category to be able achieve next level and continue filling the needs in order of the categories to complete the pyramid to the highest level.

Dubois (2000, p. 31) indicates that if following strictly Maslow’s pyramid it is unnecessary for example to advertise luxury products to people in hunger even if they would fill other higher level needs such as belonging to a peer group. While some products might follow through effectively Maslow’s theory in information it does not necessarily work in some products. Solomon(2000, p. 122) on the other hand discussed that some products or services can please needs of several levels and in some cases even all of the levels. Maslow’s theory is furthermore clarified as while person might have certain needs, other and moreover higher needs will appear and tend to dominate over the physiological needs (Maslow, 1987, p. 17). Every time a need is fulfilled a new need emerges. Thus it was meant when organizing Maslow’s theory into hierarchical order, that new need dominates the existing need and thus seems more significant over the previous need (Maslow, 1987, p. 17).

Solomon (2000, pp. 122-123) reminds that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs does not necessarily relate to all cultures. Solomon indicates that for example in Asian cultures belonging and affective needs are further respected than esteem needs. Maslow’s pyramid as it is might appeal rather to Western cultures even in Western cultures one can find alternative approaches how consumers are valuing these five levels.

Maslow’s pyramid reminds oneself of the different categories of needs. It should not be taken in consideration exactly as it is in all of the marketing, rather adapting it to different consumption situations and to different consumers.

Getz (1991 cited in Bowdin et al, 2004, pp. 122-123) adapts Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to a three staged need model with following needs and motives; physical, social/interpersonal and personal. Bowdin et al. (2004, p. 123) furthermore adapts Getz’s model to suit also events with explanation on how events can correspond on each motive on each level.

Furthermore other researches and case studies have been made about event and festival attendee’s motivations (Bowdin et al, 2004, ;Yuan et al, 2004, p.44; )In literature North America has been forerunner of publishing researches about event and festival participant needs and motivation while in United Kingdom very little has been published about these matters (Bowdin et al., 2004, p. 121).

Bowdin et al. (2004, pp. 121-122) and Yuan et al. (2004, p. 45) presents an overview for several studies concerning festival attendee’s motivations. It is (Bowdin et al. 2004, pp. 121-122; Yuan et al, 2004 p. 45) shown that with festivals the attendee’s motivations concentrates primarily on either other people, for example family togetherness, socializing and being with other people. Alternatively excitement, curiosity and escape are providing a contrast to familiar socializing and being with family (Bowdin et al., 2004, p. 121-122; Yuan et al, 2004, p.45). The motivations presented at the Yuan et al (2004, p.45) are related to festivals and while they provide some example of event attendee motivations also researches of attendee motivation’s in other type of events must be looked into while researching motivations behind charity event activity participant.

Furthermore Bowdin et al. (2004, pp.121-122) presents five principal motivations or need through two different researches in community festival and hot air balloon festival; Socialization, family togetherness, excitement/thrills, escape and event novelty.

Morgan (1996 cited in Bowdin et al., 2004, pp. 123-124) identified furthermore five other social aspects that can influence consumers’ leisure behavior; family influences, reference groups, opinion formers, personality and culture.

These factors include rather other people opinions and which other social groups can influence consumers’ decision making. For example families are often attending events that are considerate towards children, rather than taking a whole family to parents’ preferred art festival family decides to visit touring circus event.

Current literature on motivations and decision making of event participants does not seem to make a difference between charity events and other events, rather providing insight to festival attendee’s motivations. Approach for tourism and leisure motivations has been moreover considered in literature but cannot be always applied to event participants as the focus of the research is on leisure or tourism. Literature of motivations and decision making of charity donors also exist in some forms but the difficulty is that no further research has been made of charity event participant’s motivations and decision making. One can assume that consumer attending charity events has similar motivations as regular festival attendee although the question in which missä määrin…

Literature of charity donor motivations might provide some insight to the motivations of charity event participant. As no precise information of charity event participant’s motivations and decision making has been given, it could be assumed that event and festival attendee’s motivations and decision making combined with donor behavior might provide some overall understanding of charity event participant’s motivations and decision making.

Botting Herst & Norton (2007, pp. 60-61) provide some reasons why people donate to charities, furthermore it is mentioned that to achieve successful approach from donators, the fundraising message has to be linked with each individual’s personal incentives and motivations.

Following are the reasons Botting Herst & Norton (2007) provide for giving to charity;

Being asked. A primary reason for people not giving is that they have not been asked.

Concern. is a strong motivator for many donors. They may be worried about the environment, or want to improve the plight of starving refugees or help to stop the spread of AIDS. Making donations provides them with an opportunity to do something positive for a cause they believe in.

Duty. is another strong motivator , particularly for older donors. Many faiths promote the concept of charity, with some recommending that their members allocate a certain share of their income each year for this.

Guilt can motivate people to give. But unlike duty, if people give on impulse out of a sense of guilt, this is less likely to lead to a long-term relationship.

Personal experience. People who have direct or family experience of cancer, heart disease or another illness might be especially motivated to give to this type of cause. Also, those with children at school may want to support their child’s education or someone may want to ´give back´ to an educational institution they attended.

Personal benefit. Some people like the status or recognition that comes when their generosity is publicized. They may also like to be associated with prominent people involved with an organization.

Peer pressure. When people know that their friends and colleagues have given, or when those are asking them to give, it can be hard to refuse.

Tax benefits. are unlikely to be a prime motivator for giving, but can be an important factor in encouraging people to make certain type of donation and to give more generously.

They also provided some insight on why people do not give to charity or especially to your charity (2007, p. 61). The charity or cause presented might not interest some people in addition they might have donated to similar charity or cause recently (2007, p. 61). Others factors influencing consumers’ decision to not donate are bad publicity of the cause or charity, high administration costs, concern that donations are not reaching the beneficiaries and that donors feel neglected by the charity with previous experiences.

Decision making

Earlier chapter discussed motivation and thus how consumer’s needs reflect to consumer’s motivation. This chapter will discuss further about the consumer’s decision making with focus on and which various issues influence it. In this dissertation the focus of decision making is primarily on event participants’ decision making.

Consumers face decision-making situations nearly every day. According to Solomon et al. (2002, p. 235) “A consumer purchase is a response to a problem” so consumer is acting as a problem-solver throughout the decision-making process.

Decision making has been widely discussed in terms of buying a product. With products the decision making process is presented as five-step process and although the names of the steps might vary depending on the author, the content remains similar through alternative names. The five different steps in order are problem recognition or recognition of needs, information search, evaluation of alternatives, product or service choice and evaluation of post-purchase experience.

According to Bowdin et al. (2003, 120-121) the process can be also applied to event participants’ decision making.

Funk (2009, pp. 16-21) instead present an alternative motivation process for the consumers’ decision making process discussed above: the sport and event consumer motivation process. Likewise with the earlier decision making process, the motivation process consists of five different stages; Need recognition, tension reduction, drive state, want pathway and goal behavior (Funk, 2009, pp. 16-21). According to Funk (2009, p. 17) “At the basic level, sport consumer motivation reflects desires to satisfy an internal need or receive a benefit through acquisition.” Thus also Funk’s motivation process is based on the consumers’ needs and motivations which has been discussed in an earlier chapter.

Charities as brands

Griffits (2005, p.121) questions whether charity brands are any different from commercial organizations and contrasts such well known brands as Starbucks or Guinness to charity brands like Greenpeace and Comic Relief, brands that are familiar household names. Griffits (2005, p.121) reminds that while charity brands have high competition and thus need to differentiate one from each competitors, the initial motive for run a charity is profound for each charity.

Norton (2003, pp. 249-250) provides more insight to the differences of commercial and charity and non-profit brands by clarifying that “commercial branding gives object or services emotional resonance in order to generate consumer desire” (p. 249) while charity brands “connects your beliefs and values with people’s hearts and minds so as to help you achieve your mission” (p.249).

Furthermore Norton (2003, pp. 249-250) explains that for example commercial brands brand themselves through variety of advertising and public relations with large budgets as charity brand have no access to large budget advertising and therefore consumers’ perception of charity brands is based on rather their actual actions and how they do things than what they say. Moreover while commercial brands are driven to ensure further profit for their companies and organizations, charities are trying to convince the consumers to donate and get involved with their causes through their brands (Norton 2003, pp. 249-250). In addition charity brands are based on genuine values of the charity founder and while some commercial brands are also based on the indisputable and deeply held values of the company founders or creators, mostly the commercial products have invented values that do not arise from personal beliefs but to attract correct consumers (Norton 2003, p. 249). One that can be also seen as vital difference for charity and commercial brands is the fact that most commercial brands are practical products that consumers need in their everyday life such as shampoo, food, transport (Norton 2003, p. 249). Charity brands do not represent any basic need to consumers, charity brands are not necessary for one’s life like food is and thus charity brands need to contain emotional link to consumer’s to motivate them to donate (Norton 2003, p. 249).

The differences of charity and commercial brands do not only include the values and the essence of each brand. While charity brands can be discussed as emotional brands they truly have to ensure that their values are carried out in the organization and avoid any pitfalls with their image (Norton 2003, p. 250). Norton (2203, p. 250) provides an example how commercial brands can control their brand with pure and ethical images and vision but do not necessarily operate through their values and brand image like with some sportswear companies who use sweat shops or child labor. To ensure strong and controlled brand commercial brands use brand managers who have absolute power over all brand communication and image that is provided to consumers (Norton 2003, p. 249). Charity brands instead are in constant contact with stakeholders outside and inside the organization trying to come to an agreement of the brand values and actions. This might lead to a situation where the overall focus, unity and originality of the brand can suffer as many osapuoli has to be pleased Norton (p. 250).

Basically all charities are challenging consumers by asking “how can you sit there and allow this to happen?” (Griffits 2005, p.121). Also Hankinson (2001, p.233) regards that case studies (cited in Hankinson 2005, p.233) have shown that charities should develop appealing brands for the charity organization both to differentiate themselves from the competition and to be able to emphasize their relationships with charity stakeholders.

Although regular consumer might not be aware of the brands of the charities or simply does not associate charities with brands Hankinson’s research (2000) shows that charity managers themselves do consider and also emphasizes their charities as brands. On her research Hankinson (2000, pp. 211-212) explains that the use of the brand varied in different sized organizations. In comparison to small charity organizations, large and medium-sized charity organizations were using their brands “to a significantly greater degree” (Hankinson, 2000, pp. 211-212).

Hankinson (2000, p. 212) presented main practices to employ charity brands;

Strengthening awareness


Staff/volunteer recruitment

Inclusion culture

Building trust

Educational role

Cause-related marketing (CRM) partnerships

Moral leaders

Lobbying and law writing

Events as part of the branding

When consumer attends an event one hardly thinks of the event as part of organization’s or company’s branding. Still one can find numerous examples of events as branding tools in all places; gala dinners, product launches, concerts, marathons, Olympics, customer evenings, the variety is continuous. Furthermore the variety of the industries, organizations, companies and even nations who are using events as a branding tool is endless. It seems that both the budget used for marketing communication events and the variety of the events has increased rapidly (Masterman & Wood, 2006, p.221). Masterman & Wood (2006) are suggesting that all these branding events have certain mutual capability; brand will be promoted through interactive experience. Barclay (2001, p. 96) argues that events are “the most effective way to communicate a message or brand” Furthermore Masterman & Wood (2006, p. 230) discuss the benefit of the promotional events and mention that events are able to gather group of people to a controlled environment where brand can deliver brand message without distractions.

This is due to the experience factor that no other part of the marketing mix can make customer feel such emotion and create effect that is carried by the participants (Masterman &Wood 2006). Moreover promotional events are cost-effective way to complement communication mix of a brand (Masterman & Wood 2006).

Branding events often promote the brand and its awareness as well encourages participants to get involved with the brand and eventually affect the customer’s purchase decisions (Masterman & Wood, 2006, p.217). It could be argued that charities especially benefits from marketing events as they rely participants and consumers to relate to their causes and thus ensure their emotional experience and link with the charity. As charity does not provide any vital basic products like food, shampoo and such, it is extremely significant to build and develop that emotional link between audience and charity brand (Norton, 2003 pp. 246-248).

Events can also showcase charity brands in “tangible interactive manner” (Masterman & Wood 2006, p. 231) and as the tangibility is the challenge for service brands such as charity brands who do not necessarily provide tangible product in exchange of a donation or involvement with the charity, providing tangibility to the charity brand consumer it also creates benefit for the charity. This is due to the fact that consumer’s might not necessarily consider charities as brands per se but when adding tangible features for the charity events, consumer’s perception of the charity brand can develop.

For charities though, events are among the least productive income generating methods but they raise awareness for the organization and cautions and are vital for brand survival and enhancement (Webber, 2004 pp. 123-124).

Webber (2004, pp.131-132) also distinguishes the difference between large household name charities and charities who are either new, has little brand presence or work in niche areas. Large household names tend to attract people to their events “who like to be seen to be involved in charitable activities, enjoy events and have no strong philanthropic link with the cause”. The other charities cannot compete with these larger household name charities but they are using events to raise significant part of their income with attracting supporters who can gain personal benefits by attending the event (Webber, 2004, p. 131). Thus to put it simple larger household name charities are using events rather for raising awareness of their cause when smaller and more individual charities organizes events for raising money.

As for charities raising the awareness and trying to get consumers to relate to their cause is significant for the development of the charity organization, events provide excellent base for reaching audience that was not even part of the event. Innovative, creative and unique events create more “buzz” about the brand as event participants and general publicity creates genuine word of mouth campaign (Masterman & Wood, 2006 p. 230).

In addition Masterman & Wood (2006, pp. 230-231) discuss also about the disadvantages of promotional events in branding. It is mentioned that brand might be in some cases be overshadowed by the creativity and extravagance of the event then again this is less likely to happen in events than in other media were the brand is competing for the attention against various other brand messages (Masterman & Wood 2006, p. 230). The experience factor of the promotional events guarantees a subtle but distraction free communication with the brand.

Moreover in some promotional events budget might become major challenge for events with small audience group (Masterman & Wood 2006, p. 231). While the budget might seem overly high compared to the small audience, one must remember that creative event can provide further attention for the brand through word of mouth created by the event (Masterman & Wood, 2006 p. 231). In addition entry fees, sponsorships and in-kind-sponsorships with other brands can facilitate with the cost of the events but the original brand has to be cautious not to overshadow one’s own brand with other brand exposures and messages (Masterman & Wood, 2006 p. 231).

Race for Life

Race for Life

Race for Life is a female only event that has took place since 1994. Race for Life is organized by Cancer Research UK and it is an event where women are taking part of the five or ten kilometer race by running, jogging or walking. Race for Life is the largest women-only fundraising series in United Kingdom and in 2010, over 230 Race for Life events were held from May to the end of July.

The first Race for Life event was organized at Battersea Park in 1994 with 680 participants. Since the first event 4.7 million participants has raised over £327 million for Cancer Research UK. This year approximately 700,000 women participated Race for Life events and raised over £60 million for Cancer Research UK. For this dissertation three different Race for Life events were visited in Hastings, Portsmouth and Swindon.

Hastings Race for Life took place in Alexandra Park, Hastings on 13th of June with 2482 participants. Their goal for total income is £150,000 and as of 9th of August they had raised £101,510 but more sponsorship money was still expected. Hastings Race for Life consisted of one five kilometer race.

Swindon Race for Life took place in Lydiard Park, Swindon on 24th and 25th of August with all together 5675 participants. Swindon Race for Life has raised £356, 564 as of 10th of August towards Cancer Research UK. Swindon Race for Life was organized for eleventh time and consisted of a two five kilometer races and one ten kilometer race which was organized first time at the Lydiard Park.

Race for Life is organized by Cancer Research UK


Literature review over charity event participant’s motivation and decision making is quite inadequate. While researches exist over festival, event and destination event attendee’s motivation and how decision to attend is made no or very little indication has made to charity events. Furthermore theories and studies of charity donor motivations cannot provide full insight for the motivations of these donors who are donating money through attending charity events.


Methodology presents all the different stages to


The aim of this dissertation is to find out charity event activity participant’s motivations and what affects the decision making as well as to research whether charity brand has influence over the participant’s decision making. To achieve the aim both primary and secondary research was applied. The researcher chose to conduct questionnaires to gather information on the participant motivations and about the decision making process related to charity event activities. The methodology will provide explanation and justification for the chosen research methods with overview of limitations and biases.


During the dissertation writing process the following objectives were set with the proposal:

To analyse the theories on customer motivation and behavior. (Secondary)

To review relevant literature on events as branding tool. (Secondary)

To analyse customers motivation towards attending charity events and conclusive factors of decision making. (Primary)

To examine impact of charity brands towards decision making. (Primary)

To draw conclusions on the customer motivations and decision making as well as impacts of the organization brand in charity events.

As the dissertation process progressed some of the original objectives were developed and changed to be more suitable for the final research project.Changes were as following:

To clarify the subject and area of the dissertation the first objective was changed as following:

To analyse the theories on customer motivation and decision making of event attendee. (Secondary)

The second objective was complemented to understand also charities as brands:

To review relevant literature on charities as brands and furthermore how events can be used in branding. (Secondary)

In the fourth and fifth objectives slight changes were made with the word choices as it was

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