Intuitive Donating: Testing One-Line Solicitations for $1 Donations in a Large Online Experiment

22 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018

See all articles by Samantha Horn

Samantha Horn

Northwestern University

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2018

Abstract

We partnered with a large online auction website to test differing messages' effects on the decision to donate to charity at checkout. Our setting, where impulsive decisions are likely to be driving donations, allows us to evaluate intuitive responses to messages prompting a donation. We find that shorter messages, matching grants, and descriptions of a charity's mission increase both the likelihood that a user donates, as well as the average amount donated. Conversely, displaying the impact of the donated amount, the popularity of the charity, and that a charity uses scientific evidence do not improve donation rates. These results contribute to our understanding of how framing requests drives the decision to donate and are practically relevant to the many retail sites which promote giving at point of sale.

Keywords: Charitable Giving

JEL Classification: C93, D64, H4

Suggested Citation

Horn, Samantha and Karlan, Dean S., Intuitive Donating: Testing One-Line Solicitations for $1 Donations in a Large Online Experiment (February 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12714. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3126208

Samantha Horn (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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