Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Chaifetz School of Business Header Logo Center

Menu Search & Directory

Professor Katie Kelting's Research Impacts the Saint Louis Zoo

Katie Kelting, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of marketing at the Chaifetz School of Business
 Katie Kelting, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of marketing at the Chaifetz School of Business, photo by Kelly Siempelkamp

The Chaifetz School of Business Behavioral Lab at Saint Louis University supports faculty and graduate students by providing an accessible research participant tool for collecting data. Katie Kelting, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Marketing, collected data to solve real-world problems, assisting the Saint Louis Zoo to boost fundraising efforts.

The research study analyzed whether reframing the question, “would you like to donate a dollar to this charity?” to “would you like to round up your total and donate the difference to this charity?” at point-of-sale would have an impact on the consumer, possibly initiating a different response.

“Why do we have this propensity to say 'yes' to a round up donation request but no to one involving a fixed amount?” Kelting said.

The data showed that consumers say 'yes' more to a round up than to a fixed amount donation request, even when the requested amount is identical.

More information on the procedures used in Kelting's study, along with professors Stefanie Robinson (North Carolina State University) and Richard Lutz (University of Florida), originally published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, can be found in the article published by the Wiley Online Library.

“We find that the effect emerges due to differences in consumers' perceptions of pain," Kelting said. "Specifically, our research shows that consumers say yes more to a roundup donation request because such a request reduces their perceived pain of donating.” 



Real-World Results From Research

By utilizing the Chaifetz School's Behavioral Lab, Kelting was able to see significant results from her research, impacting, the Saint Louis Zoo. Her findings were tested in its main dining facility, Lakeside Cafe, in an effort to raise donations.



The Saint Louis Zoo tests Katie Kelting's research at the main dining facility.

The Saint Louis Zoo tests Katie Kelting's research at the main dining facility. Photo by Kelly Siempelkamp

“They were pleasantly surprised by the results,” Kelting said.

There was a significant increase in the number of donations the Saint Louis Zoo was receiving, and the data showed approximately $8,000 more in donations when projected out for the entire year.



“The research was very beneficial to determine the best way to raise donation contributions at the register to support the Saint Louis Zoo’s conservation efforts,” said Jim Madison, Director of Business Operations at the Saint Louis Zoo.

About the Behavioral Lab

The Chaifetz School of Business provides an accessible space for faculty and graduate students in facilitating innovative research on business-related topics and allowing the freedom and consistency to improve business decisions throughout the St. Louis community.

Learn more about how to be a participant in business-related research