Giving Suggestions: Using Quantity Requests to Increase Donations

65 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 17 Oct 2020

See all articles by Alice Moon

Alice Moon

The Wharton School

Eric VanEpps

University of Utah - Department of Marketing

Date Written: February 13, 2020


Across seven studies, we provide evidence that quantity requests, wherein people consider ordinal choice options of how much to give to a prosocial cause (e.g., $5, $10, $15), increase contributions compared to binary (yes/no) requests. Specifically, quantity requests encourage greater donation likelihood and discourage very small donation magnitudes (Studies 1-2). These effects are robust to including particularly low suggested donation options (Study 3) or to contexts in which no windfall gain is provided (Study 4). Quantity requests also outperform other requests with multiple donation options (i.e., multiple options of when to donate or to which charity branch to donate; Study 5). We provide evidence that quantity requests facilitate identification of a preferred donation option, thereby increasing donation likelihood, and shift perceived norms of minimum donation magnitudes, thereby decreasing the likelihood of very small donation magnitudes (Study 6). Finally, we present one way to transform non-quantity requests to be more effective: Adding an ordinal scale alongside choice options converts a non-quantity request into a quantity request and increases contribution likelihood (Study 7). Our findings offer a practical nudge for promoting prosocial action and a theoretical framework of why quantity requests increase donations.

Keywords: charitable giving, prosocial behavior, framing effects, quantity requests, donation requests, donation rates

Suggested Citation

Moon, Alice and VanEpps, Eric, Giving Suggestions: Using Quantity Requests to Increase Donations (February 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alice Moon (Contact Author)

The Wharton School ( email )

Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Eric VanEpps

University of Utah - Department of Marketing ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9304
United States

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