Why “solidarity rounding” at checkout can end up annoying some consumers

by time news

“Do you want to round up the amount of your purchases to the next euro to support an association? In recent weeks, many French consumers have had to answer yes or no to this request made at the checkout counters, for the benefit of Ukrainians, Turkish and Syrian disaster victims or even during the “yellow coins” operation in favor of hospitalized children.

The sums – a few euro cents of donations per checkout – seem derisory. However, the microdonation mechanism (or rounding up at the checkout, or even checkout charity among Anglo-Saxons) is spreading more and more widely within networks of brands that see it as a way to improve their reputation. This form of donation made it possible to collect more than 50 million euros in France since 2010.

Publicity campaign The solidarity rounding – www.lroundu.org

Some consumers find it a simple and painless way to support an association. However, asking us to give, at each checkout, can end up annoying. From an opportunity to be generous, it sometimes becomes a source of embarrassment, guilt, even irritation when you have to refuse out loud.

“Me, poor thing”

If you experience this type of feeling when you are asked for a donation at the checkout, know that you are not alone: ​​in the United States, the phenomenon is so well known that even a cartoon character South Park denounces it and the mentions “Stop asking me to donate” (“stop asking me to donate”) have multiplied on the social network Twitter.

Following a study suggesting that there are optimal conditions favoring the donation at the cash desk (offering the donation via an electronic payment terminal rather than in person, in a specialized brand, particularly in the leisure sector, with a wide geographical coverage), I conducted an in-depth analysis of these tweets to understand not why people give, but on the contrary, why they refuse to give. It was thus possible to highlight three factors of annoyance linked to the solicitation of donations at the cash desk.

VIDEO Excerpt from the episode of the series South Park on the solidarity rounding at the checkout (in English)

The first annoyance factor is over-solicitation. Due to the proliferation of donation request channels (emails, telephone, in person, mail, at the cash desk, etc.) and solicitation locations (on the street, in the mailbox, at work, during shopping, etc.), potential donors regret a lack of targeting that leads them to be overwhelmed with requests for causes that rarely interest them.

The request for a donation at the checkout then appears as an additional drop of water in the service of a well-known torture that ends up driving people crazy. A message on Twitter illustrates this fed up:

Tweet – Twitter

Please The Guardian and Wikipedia: Stop asking me to donate! I already do, every month. I don’t understand how you can email me reminders without knowing this.

Secondly, the lack of reciprocity is widely denounced by disgruntled donors: why give when the brand does not? In our study, covering 706 tweets, companies that solicit donations for an association are attributed selfish motivations at 61%, compared to 11.8% if the association asks for money itself:

Tweet – Twitter

I wish the billionaire corporations would stop asking me, poor thing, to donate $2.

Tweet – Twitter

Dear WoolWorths and Coles [chaînes de supermarchés en Australie], stop asking me to donate money to multiple causes every time you checkout. I’m not the one making billions in profits, you are! If you feel the need to do good, how about giving of yourself and in my name? Amazing.

Third, annoyed donors question the legitimacy of brands that raise funds for charities. Between sincere approach and “socialwashing”, customers sometimes have trouble seeing clearly. This often leads consumers to wonder where the donated money goes.

However, contrary to certain received ideas, the partner companies of the solidarity rounding do not earn money in the operation. Thanks to a technical solution implemented in payment terminals by the solidarity company MicroDON (or by banking players who are embarking on microdonations such as the People’s Bank), the money consumers donate is transparently earmarked to the chosen associations.

In France, beyond 5 euros given per year and per brand, customers can even assert their right to tax exemption.

​Indoor heat

By looking at the negative effects of soliciting financial donations, it helps to better understand how to adapt donation campaigns in order to prevent the generosity of donors from being eroded. Indeed, brands and associations should take into consideration these customers who do not see solidarity rounding in a good light.

On the one hand, “irritated consumers” may see it as a form of illegitimacy because the brand is not associated with their donation, which can damage the brand image of the brand and the desire to come back to it. On the other hand, the “annoyed donors” get irritated at being solicited at all costs, by multiple means, without suitable targeting, at the risk of running away from the demands of the associations.

This research conducted to improve the experience of giving may lead to the following question: after all, why should we be generous? Why can’t rounding up at the checkout be just a marketing tool like there are so many others, imperfect or effective depending on the brand?

One answer is that generosity has many virtues, for society but also for oneself. Indeed, giving makes it possible in particular to feel a feeling of inner warmth (“ warm glow “), to reduce stress and the risk of heart attack, as well as, as the promoters of the gift point out, to enjoy life better. Just that !

This article is produced by The Conversation and hosted by 20 Minutes.

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