Beyond Whether to Give: Using Continuous Requests to Increase Donation Rates
55 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 16 May 2019
Date Written: May 15, 2019
Donation requests require individuals to consider multiple aspects of a donation decision, including both whether and how much to give. Across ten studies, we provide evidence that continuous requests of how much to give (relative to binary requests of whether to give) can increase donation rates (Studies 1A-1C). This effect is not driven by: simply streamlining donation decisions (Studies 2A-2B), presenting multiple donation options (Study 3A), or conveying a strong presumption of giving (Studies 3B). Additionally, we find that initially providing a continuous request increases donation rates even when followed by a non-continuous request (Study 4), and that the benefit of continuous requests extends to non-monetary contexts (i.e., volunteering time and effort; Study 5). Finally, we propose one way to transform non-continuous requests to be more effective. Specifically, adding an artificial continuum to a request (thereby, converting the request to be continuous) increases contribution likelihood (Study 6). Our findings offer a practical nudge for promoting prosocial action and a theoretical framework of when and why certain requests increase donation rates.
Keywords: charitable giving, prosocial behavior, framing effects, continuous choice, discrete choice
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