A pair of French researchers propose that adding the text “loving” to a collection box almost doubled the amount of money raised:
Some [collection] boxes had this additional text in French just below the money slot: “DONATING=LOVING”; others had the text “DONATING=HELPING”; whilst others had no further text below the slot. …. The text on the donation boxes made a profound difference. On average, almost twice as much money was raised daily in boxes with the “donating=loving” text, as compared with the “donating=helping” boxes and the boxes with no additional text.
Guéguen and Lamy think that the word “loving” acts as a prime, activating related concepts such as compassion, support and solidarity, and thereby encourages behaviour consistent with those ideas. Such an explanation would fit the wider literature showing how our motivations and attitudes can be influenced by words and objects without us realising it.
If you recall, researchers who analyzed conversations of 154 middle-aged and older married couples about points of disagreement found:
[T]hose who used pronouns such as “we,” “our,” and “us” behaved more positively toward one another and showed less physiological stress. …. Couples who emphasized their “separateness” by using pronouns such as “I,” “me,” and “you” were less satisfied in their marriages.