Beyond Whether to Give: Using Continuous Requests to Increase Donation Rates

55 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Alice Moon

Alice Moon

The Wharton School

Eric VanEpps

University of Utah - Department of Marketing

Date Written: May 15, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Moon, Alice and VanEpps, Eric, Beyond Whether to Give: Using Continuous Requests to Increase Donation Rates (May 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3080731 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3080731

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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