Giving and Sharing: The Predictors and Outcomes of Online Donor Acknowledgement and Recognition

Project dates: 2013 - 2016

Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) are increasingly realising the importance of nurturing donor relationships, and often use donor appreciation as a key strategy. Despite the widespread practice of sending a thank-you letter or email to donors, attrition rates remain high across the donation of blood, time and money. This suggests the need to explore alternate forms of donor appreciation to improve donor retention.

A focus on online platforms (i.e. email and social networking sites) to provide donor appreciation would be insightful given the increased connectivity between users and opportunities for NFPs to affordably leverage this technology.

Using a mixed methods approach with a two-stage research design, this PhD research program explains (1) how online acknowledgement (e.g. thank-you email) and recognition (e.g. Facebook badge) influence repeat donation behaviour, (2) what influences donors’ decision to share online donor recognition on social networking sites, and (3) whether the type of donation (i.e. blood, time or money) affects donors’ response to receiving and sharing online donor recognition.

This research has practical implications that will inform the strategy development for effective online donor appreciation programs, solicitation efforts to encourage donors to share donation activity on SNSs, and how to approach different types of donation. Findings demonstrate that online acknowledgement and recognition can indeed be an effective tool for NFPs to build relationships with its donors, and subsequently reduce donor attrition.


Guiding Theory:

  • Identity Theory and Identity Verification
  • Self-disclosure/ Firm-Generated Word-of-Mouth

Chief Investigators



Third Sector Live “Fundraising Pitch” Winner:

View the website here.


Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) QUT Finalist:

‘Fear, frivolity and fake: Why don’t people share their donation activity?’

Considering your Facebook page, you probably know which of your friends like to eat out, or have a pet. But could you tell what charity they support?