Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Shannon A. Bowen


This study aims to apply POP donations and messaging as a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR) research. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the relationships between communication factors of portion of the profit (POP) donations and a consumer’s intentions to purchase an item from a corporation, and the level of trust between a consumer and corporation. A key focus of this study was to determine if there is skepticism of POP donations and the impact on overall purchasing intentions, CSR communication factors, engagement, and trustworthiness. This emphasized how ethical values, decision making, relationship building, and trustworthiness are obligations between corporations and publics.

A survey was used to analyze consumer beliefs of CSR donations in corporation specific (participant picked) situations. This study assisted with the determination of how CSR communication factors surrounding POP donations can have a negative or positive relationship with purchasing intention and trustworthiness. Further, the study examined how CSR engagement affects consumer viewpoints surrounding POP donations and skepticism.

Based on the below literature review and previous works, structural equation modeling was used to examine relationships between variables (skepticism, CSR communication factors, CSR engagement, purchase intentions, and trust). A CFA was conducted, and results can further be applied to CSR literature for future vi recommendations. This study added to existing CSR literature by offering results of a CFA, which can be applied by corporations to help corporations enhance their CSR communications surrounding donation campaigns.

Findings suggested that a positive relationship occurred between CSR communication factors and CSR engagement, CSR engagement and purchase intention, and CSR engagement and trust. Negative relationships occurred between CSR communication factors and CSR skepticism, CSR skepticism and trust, and CSR skepticism and purchase intention. These relationships are direct paths which can be viewed in FIGURE 4.1.

Corporations can use the model and findings from this study to understand how consumers viewed CSR strategy, and its effects on purchasing intentions. PR practitioners should use the model and findings from this study to create CSR messaging that will be viewed as trustworthy among consumers. CSR managers could use the model and findings from this study to ethically implement a campaign that will be beneficial for society.