Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving

18 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2015 Last revised: 3 Nov 2016

See all articles by Anya Samek

Anya Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 31, 2016

Abstract

Recognizing donors by revealing their identities is important for increasing charitable giving. Using a framed field experiment, we show that all forms of recognition that we examine increase donations relative to the baseline treatment, and recognizing only the highest or only the lowest donors has the strongest and significant effect. We argue that selective recognition creates tournament-like incentives. Recognizing the highest donors activates the desire to seek a ‘positive prize’ of prestige, while recognizing the lowest donors activates the desire to avoid a ‘negative prize’ of shame. We discuss how selective recognition can be used by charities to increase donations.

Keywords: charity donations, recognition, information, experiments

JEL Classification: C93, D64

Suggested Citation

Samek, Anya and Sheremeta, Roman M., Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving (October 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695236 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2695236

Anya Samek

Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) ( email )

635 Downey Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089-3332
United States

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Roman M. Sheremeta (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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