Toward a Theory of Charitable Fundraising

24 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 1998

See all articles by James Andreoni

James Andreoni

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)


Private providers of public goods, such as charities, invariably enlist a fundraiser to organize and collect contributions. Common in charitable fundraising during capital campaigns is seed money, either from a government grant or from a group of "leadership givers," that launches the fund drive and generates additional gifts. This paper provides a theoretical basis for fundraisers and seeds to charity. The primary assumption that is added to the standard model of privately provided public goods is simply that the charity has fixed costs. With this it is shown that fundraisers have a natural and important role, and that sometimes only a small amount of seed money can grow into a substantial charity.

JEL Classification: H49

Suggested Citation

Andreoni, James, Toward a Theory of Charitable Fundraising. Available at SSRN: or

James Andreoni (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States


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