Functional Altruism Among Agreeable and Narcissistic Donors: Evidence from Crowdsourced Fundraisers


  • Kelsey M. Drea The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States of America
  • Mitch Brown University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States of America
  • Donald F. Sacco The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States of America


altruism; crowdsource; agreeableness; narcissism; mating


Given the increasing popularity of crowdsourced fundraisers, understanding how characteristics of funding initiatives and donors influence donations has critical real-world implications. Across two studies, we identified potential situational factors most conducive to successful crowdsourcing while also determining whether individual differences in various personality factors predicted differing levels of donation. Participants in Study 1 (MAge = 19.99; 309 women, 75 men) viewed descriptions that manipulated donation type (organizer donation, anonymous donation, no donation) and type of fundraiser (self-organized, other-organized), and reported their willingness to donate to an individual’s medical treatment and completed inventories assessing Big Five personality traits. In Study 2 participants (MAge = 20.22; 322 women, 102 men) viewed vignettes describing fundraisers for an individual’s vacation fun and completed inventories assessing participantslevels of narcissism using the Pathological Narcissism Inventory. Higher agreeableness in men predicted heightened donation interest, regardless of type of cause, particularly when someone else has already donated (Study 1). Unexpectedly, narcissistic men and women both reported heightened donation interest (Study 2). We frame these findings through a framework assessing the adaptive utility of altruism as a function of personality in modern donation contexts.