‘You can try to press different emotional buttons’: The conflicts and strategies of eliciting emotions for fundraisers

DEAN, Jon and WOOD, Rachel (2017). ‘You can try to press different emotional buttons’: The conflicts and strategies of eliciting emotions for fundraisers. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 22 (4), e1603.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1002/nvsm.1603


In a competitive climate in which charities must increasingly rely on fundraising with the public, emotions such as hope, guilt, and fear are powerful tools that can be used strategically to secure donations or participation. This paper explores data from interviews with 23 fundraisers and voluntary sector workers, managers and officials, to argue that decisions around how, why and when to invest in the elicitation of emotion in fundraising are often difficult and conflicted, with some identifying a battle between ethics and effectiveness. We identify three key levels of conflict that must be negotiated: at the level of the charity sector, where the emotional ethics particularly of larger charities have been met with some resistance from the public and press; at the level of the organisation itself, where the ethics of representation are often a subject of conflict between fundraising and other departments such as policy; and finally at the experiential level of individual fundraisers themselves, who report being routinely internally conflicted around the rights and wrongs of using emotion in their work. A strategic approach to eliciting emotion emerges in the data as a useful way to address some of these areas of conflict, with fundraisers making careful 'balancing' decisions about how and with whom to mobilise certain emotions at specific times.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: conflict, emotions, fundraisers, fundraising, guilt
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/nvsm.1603
Page Range: e1603
Depositing User: Jon Dean
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2017 12:43
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 01:05
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17200

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