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Overhead aversion refers to a reluctance among donors to contribute to a charitable cause when a portion of that donation is allocated to non-cause-related costs. As a consequence, there is an impact on donor intentions and behaviors. A meta-analysis shows that characteristics of potential donors and the charitable cause moderate the impact of overhead level on donation intentions and behaviors. A follow-up experiment investigates two potential mechanisms underlying overhead aversion: perceived personal impact and perceived efficiency. Results of a survey experiment suggest the negative influence of overhead costs on donative behaviors is exacerbated when potential donors doubt their ability to make a difference or question the efficiency of the charitable organization. In fact, analysis of a serial mediation model suggests that perceived efficiency and perceived impact almost completely mediate the effect of overhead aversion on donation levels. The theoretical contributions and practical implications of these findings for both marketing scholars and practitioners in the nonprofit domain are discussed.



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