Audience motivations to donate : the case of the Catalan telethon La marató de TV3
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies
, p. 57-71
University of Antwerp
Although Spain was in the midst of an economic and financial crisis, the 2010 edition of the Catalan telethon La Marató de TV3 managed to raise a record number of donations. While scholars generally refer to compassion to explain the success of telethons, an online survey of 348 Catalans reveals an additional set of audience motivations to donate. Alongside the element of compassion, the survey points towards community feeling and a set of production values. The latter includes advertising, video testimonials and the carefully built up credibility of the organizing broadcaster and of the project. Nonetheless, the data also hint at a latent tendency towards compassion fatigue as only 38.2% of the respondents did donate while between 62.4% and 86.8% expressed a willingness to do so. The study illustrates the potential of telethons to ward off such a tendency by motivating the audience in other ways rather than simply appealing to compassion.