The Effect of Involvement on Fundraising: A Charity Field Experiment
38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016
Date Written: March 14, 2016
We investigate the effect of fundraiser incentives and orientations on effort and outcomes in a fundraising drive. We report results of a field experiment consisting of over 350 volunteers participating in a fundraiser over a period of two months. A unique feature of this study is that we observe communication and creative effort. Each fundraiser is tasked with maintaining a personal website, creating content, including an essay about personal connection to the charity, and establishing social connections in an effort to raise money. Treatments include a control with no incentives, piece rate incentives and tournaments incentives. We find that funds raised are driven by both creative and communication efforts and that communication effort mediates the impact of piece rate incentives and charitable orientation on funds raised, whereas creative effort mediates charitable orientation only. While creative activity is less critical than communication activity in raising short term funds, it is more sensitive to orientations than communication activity and is driven positively by trust and charitable orientations. Intent to volunteer in future period is shown to be increasing in current efforts and negatively impacted by incentives, without significant mediation.
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