Should I Give or How Much Should I Give? Continuous (versus Discrete) Requests Increase Likelihood of Prosocial Engagement
41 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 30, 2017
Can a simple nudge increase the likelihood of prosocial action? We find increased rates of donations and prosocial behaviors by shifting the request from a discrete decision, which we propose promotes a whether to give mindset, to a continuous decision which instead promotes consideration of how much to give. Across nine studies, we demonstrate that continuous requests (relative to discrete requests) increase the likelihood that an individual contributes to a prosocial cause – specifically, increased likelihood of monetary donations, increased willingness to engage in effort tasks, and increased willingness to complete surveys for a prosocial cause. We also provide evidence that the mere ordering of a charitable request can influence donation likelihood: consumers are more likely to donate when they first consider a continuous request rather than a discrete request. That is, when first asked to consider how much they would like to give before being asked which charity to support, they are more likely to donate than when consumers first select which charity to support and then decide the amount to give.
Keywords: charitable giving, prosocial behavior, framing effects, continuous choice, discrete choice
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