Something For You And Something (More) For Me? The Altruistic Motives of Blood Donors and Their Relationship To to Attitudes Towards Non-Cash Incentives For for Blood Donation 

Chell, K. (Australian Red Cross Blood Service), Masser, B. M. (University of Queensland), van Dyke, N. (Australian Red Cross Blood Service), Kruse, S. (Australian Red Cross Blood Service), Davison, T. E. (Australian Red Cross Blood Service) 

Blood donors are stereotyped as pure altruists – giving selflessly for the benefit of others. Despite ongoing challenges to the blood supply, this stereotype prevents many blood services from offering incentives to donate through fear that these will crowd out those altruistically motivated to give. Theoretically, however, giving is underpinned by a range of motives differentially focused on the self, perceptions of others, and the likely recipient. Therefore, to the degree that donors accept some benefit for the self from donating, the offering of non-cash incentives may not deter. To explore this hypothesis we administered a shortened Mechanisms of Altruism Index – Blood to 1,028 donors and asked them their perceptions of offering 13 different non-cash incentives for donating (e.g., charity donations, health checks, rewards programs). Over 85% of our sample endorsed impure altruistic motives, acknowledging that they donated both to benefit others and to gain emotional warm glow. Consistent with this acceptance of personal benefit from donating, all non-cash incentives were positively evaluated. Further, endorsing impure altruistic motives was most strongly associated with supporting health checks and rewards programs as incentives to donate. These results suggest that concerns that non-cash incentives will crowd out altruistically motivated donors may be unfounded. 

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Emotion, Norms, and Pro-social behaviour