Incentives and the Design of Charitable Fundraisers: Lessons from a Field Experiment

27 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2015

See all articles by Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Jeffrey P. Carpenter

Middlebury College - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Peter Hans Matthews

Middlebury College - Department of Economics

Abstract

There has been little systematic study of the mechanisms typically used to raise money for charity. One of the most common is the simple raffle in which participants purchase chances to win a prize at a constant price. We conduct a field experiment randomly assigning participants to four raffle treatments to examine the effectiveness of alternative incentive schemes designed to encourage either participation or volume. Our results confirm the importance of incentives in that we find revenue gains are available on both margins. Our experiment, and others like it, illustrates the power of field experiments to inform fundraising choices.

Keywords: philanthropy, fundraising, incentives, public good, raffle, Tullock contest, field experiment

JEL Classification: H41, D03, D64, C93

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Jeffrey P. and Matthews, Peter Hans, Incentives and the Design of Charitable Fundraisers: Lessons from a Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8952. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2589814

Jeffrey P. Carpenter (Contact Author)

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802-443-3241 (Phone)
802-443-2084 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://community.middlebury.edu/~jcarpent/index.ht

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Peter Hans Matthews

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802 443-5591 (Phone)
802 443-2084 (Fax)

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