Keeping the memory but not the possession: Memory preservation mitigates identity loss from product disposition

Karen Page Winterich, Rebecca Walker Reczek, Julie R. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nonprofit firms' reliance on donations to build inventory distinguishes them from traditional retailers. This reliance on consumer donations means that these organizations face an inherently more volatile supply chain than retailers that source inventory from manufacturers. The authors propose that consumer reluctance to part with possessions with sentimental value causes a bottleneck in the donation process. The goal of this research is therefore to provide nonprofits with tools to increase donations of used goods and provide a theoretical link between the literature streams on prosocial behavior, disposition, memory, and identity. As such, the authors explore the effectiveness of memory preservation strategies (e.g., taking a photo of a good before donating it) in increasing donations to nonprofits. A field study using a donation drive demonstrates that encouraging consumers to take photos of sentimental possessions before donating them increases donations, and five laboratory experiments explicate this result by mapping the proposed psychological process behind the success of memory preservation techniques. Specifically, these techniques operate by ameliorating consumers' perceived identity loss when considering donation of sentimental goods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-120
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marketing
Volume81
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

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