Giving Suggestions: Using Quantity Requests to Increase Donations
80 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 25 Sep 2022
Date Written: September 23, 2022
Across seven studies (N = 9,028), we provide evidence that quantity requests, wherein people consider multiple choice options of how much to donate (e.g., $5, $10, or $15), increase contributions compared to open-ended requests. Specifically, quantity requests encourage greater donations (Study 1), even when respondents can passively choose not to donate (Study 2) and even when the donation is directed toward a less popular cause (Study 3). This increase in donations holds for quantity requests that start with both lower (e.g., $1) or higher (e.g., $10) donation amount options (Study 4). Quantity requests also outperform other requests with multiple non-quantity donation options (e.g., multiple options of when to donate or to which charity branch to direct a donation; Study 5). We offer evidence that quantity requests are effective because they simplify donation decisions by communicating normative donation magnitudes (Studies 6-7). This clarified norm of donation magnitude boosts donation rates, which in turn leads to greater total donations. Our findings offer new conceptual insights into how quantity requests increase contributions as well as practical implications for charitable organizations to optimize contributions by leveraging the use of quantity requests.
Keywords: charitable giving, prosocial behavior, framing effects, quantity requests, donation requests, donation rates
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