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Internet technology and poverty relief

  • Jodette M. Fox (a1) and Stuart C. Carr (a2)


Unlike their television counterparts, website fund-raising advertisements designed by international aid agencies do not have to be compressed into short grabs and bites. This means that website technology might be used to convey relatively abstract, situational attributions for poverty, which are known to increase charitable donations. Seventy undergraduates from Australia's Northern Territory University viewed a simulated aid agency website containing varying degrees of textual and visual information about these situational causes of poverty; completed the situational attributions-focused Causes of Third World Poverty Questionnaire (CTWPQ); and reported their intentions to donate money to the simulated aid organisation's poverty relief projects. Consistent with attribution theory, both situational attributions made about poverty and charitable donation intentions were optimised when the website contained an optimal amount of (textual and visual) information on the situational causes of poverty. These preliminary findings suggest how Internet technology can be applied to raise dollar donations, as well as increasing tolerance within diverse regions like the South Pacific.


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