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Exemplars and the Application of the Desert Heuristic When Responding to Fundraising Attempts
Unformatted Document Text:  9 Participants A total of 288 participants took part in the experiment (50.9% men, 49.1% women). The ages ranged from 16 to 76, with an average age of 32 years. Levels of education ranged from elementary school only to a completed college degree. At random, each participant received one version of a fundraising letter. Questionnaire A brief questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the letter. The questionnaire contained mainly the same items as the one in the first experiment. Again the attitude and the text evaluation measurements proved to be reliable (respectively Cronbach’s α = .81 and .71, although the text evaluation measurement was reduced from 10 to 8 items). Compared to the questionnaire used in the first experiment, two additional items were included. Intention toward donating money to the organization The first question was, If you were to receive this letter, would you donate money to the (name of the organization). The participants could answer either “yes” or “no”. If they gave an affirmative answer, they were asked to indicate the amount of money they intended to donate. Knowing someone who suffers from Aids, a heart disease, obesity, or alcoholism The last question on the questionnaire was whether the participant knew someone personally who was in the kind of trouble the fundraising letter was referring to. Procedure The procedure was similar to the one employed in the first experiment except for the recruitment of the participants. To get a more varied sample, several researchers traveled by train and asked other rail passengers whether or not they were willing to participate in a study on the comprehensibility and attractiveness of Dutch fundraising letters. They were instructed to read the letter carefully and to give their opinion about it. They received one version of the letter at random. The questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the letter. The following statement was shown at the top of the questionnaire“the way you rate the letter may be influenced by your opinion of the `name of fundraising organization’. Therefore, we would first like to know what you think about this organization”. After filling out the questionnaire and handing it in, the participants were told about the study’s goal and any remaining questions they had were answered. Results First, we checked to see whether the different diseases or trouble were perceived differently with respect to their severity. To that end, the responses to the item on whether the specific group (for instance, Aids victims or homeless alcoholics) needed financial support were analyzed. A one-way analysis provided a significant effect of kind of trouble (F (3, 273) =

Authors: Hoeken, Hans. and Hustinx, Lettica.
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9
Participants

A total of 288 participants took part in the experiment (50.9% men, 49.1% women). The ages
ranged from 16 to 76, with an average age of 32 years. Levels of education ranged from
elementary school only to a completed college degree. At random, each participant received
one version of a fundraising letter.
Questionnaire

A brief questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the letter. The questionnaire
contained mainly the same items as the one in the first experiment. Again the attitude and
the text evaluation measurements proved to be reliable (respectively Cronbach’s
α
= .81 and
.71, although the text evaluation measurement was reduced from 10 to 8 items). Compared
to the questionnaire used in the first experiment, two additional items were included.

Intention toward donating money to the organization
The first question was, If you were to receive this letter, would you donate money to the
(name of the organization). The participants could answer either “yes” or “no”. If they gave an
affirmative answer, they were asked to indicate the amount of money they intended to
donate.

Knowing someone who suffers from Aids, a heart disease, obesity, or alcoholism
The last question on the questionnaire was whether the participant knew someone
personally who was in the kind of trouble the fundraising letter was referring to.
Procedure

The procedure was similar to the one employed in the first experiment except for the
recruitment of the participants. To get a more varied sample, several researchers traveled by
train and asked other rail passengers whether or not they were willing to participate in a
study on the comprehensibility and attractiveness of Dutch fundraising letters. They were
instructed to read the letter carefully and to give their opinion about it. They received one
version of the letter at random. The questionnaire was printed on the reverse side of the
letter. The following statement was shown at the top of the questionnaire“the way you rate
the letter may be influenced by your opinion of the `name of fundraising organization’.
Therefore, we would first like to know what you think about this organization”. After filling out
the questionnaire and handing it in, the participants were told about the study’s goal and any
remaining questions they had were answered.
Results

First, we checked to see whether the different diseases or trouble were perceived differently
with respect to their severity. To that end, the responses to the item on whether the specific
group (for instance, Aids victims or homeless alcoholics) needed financial support were
analyzed. A one-way analysis provided a significant effect of kind of trouble (F (3, 273) =


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