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

See all articles by Holger Andreas Rau

Holger Andreas Rau

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Anya Samek

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management; Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR)

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Duisburg-Essen

Date Written: February 11, 2019

Abstract

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

Rau, Holger Andreas and Samek, Anya and Zhurakhovska, Lilia, Do I Care If You Are Paid? Field Experiments and Expert Forecasts in Charitable Giving (February 11, 2019). CESR-Schaeffer Working Paper No. 2938069, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2938069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2938069

Holger Andreas Rau (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073
Germany

Anya Samek

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive #0553
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093-0553
United States

HOME PAGE: http://anyasamek.com

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

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

Lilia Zhurakhovska

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

University of Duisburg-Essen ( email )

Lotharstrasse 1
Duisburg, 47048
Germany

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