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

20 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2018

See all articles by Samantha Horn

Samantha Horn

Northwestern University

Dean Karlan

Northwestern University

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 drive the decision to donate and are practically relevant to the many retail sites which promote giving at the point of sale.

Keywords: charitable giving

JEL Classification: C93, D64, H4

Suggested Citation

Horn, Samantha and Karlan, Dean, Intuitive Donating: Testing One-Line Solicitations for $1 Donations in a Large Online Experiment (February 2018). Buffett Institute Global Poverty Research Lab Working Paper No. 18-103. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3127027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3127027

Samantha Horn

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Dean Karlan (Contact Author)

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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