Matched Fundraising: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

32 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2010

See all articles by Steffen Huck

Steffen Huck

University College London - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2010

Abstract

We present evidence from a natural field experiment designed to shed light on the efficacy of fundraising schemes in which donations are matched by a lead donor. In conjunction with the Bavarian State Opera House, we mailed 14,000 regular opera attendees a letter describing a charitable fundraising project organized by the opera house. Recipients were randomly assigned to treatments designed to explore behavioral responses to linear matching schemes, as well as the mere existence of a substantial lead donor. We use the exogenous variation in match rates across treatments to estimate the price elasticities of charitable giving. We find that straight linear matching schemes raise the total donations received including the match value, but partially crowd out the actual donations given excluding the match. If charitable organizations can use lead gifts as they wish, our results show they maximize donations given by simply announcing the presence of a lead gift. We contrast our price elasticity estimates with those based on changes in rules regarding tax deductions for charitable giving, as well as from the nascent literature using large-scale natural field experiments on giving.

Keywords: charitable giving, matched fundraising, natural field experiment

JEL Classification: C93, D12, D64

Suggested Citation

Huck, Steffen and Rasul, Imran, Matched Fundraising: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment (October 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8075. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1711088

Steffen Huck (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 207 679 5895 (Phone)
+44 207 916 2774 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctpshu/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Imran Rasul

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5853 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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