Do I Care If You Are Paid? Field Experiments and Expert Forecasts in Charitable Giving
61 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 23 Sep 2020
Date Written: February 11, 2019
There is a widespread belief among fundraisers that solicitations by volunteers will be more effective than solicitations by paid workers. To explore whether this belief has merit, we conduct a door-to-door fundraising experiment in which solicitors communicate their compensation status to households. In our experiment, we vary (1) whether solicitors are paid or not and (2) the information that potential donors receive about solicitors’ compensation. Interestingly, we find that donations and especially donation rates are higher by 28% when potential donors are told that solicitors are paid and are unchanged when potential donors are told that solicitors are volunteers. These results stand in contrast to incentivized forecasts of fundraising professionals, who believe that information that solicitors are volunteers will raise more money than information that solicitors are paid workers. A follow-up internet survey suggests that knowing that a solicitor is paid has a positive impact on attitudes towards the solicitor.
Keywords: charitable giving, field experiment, information
JEL Classification: C93, D12, H41, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation