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How Responsive are Charitable Donors to Requests to Give?

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  • Bariş K. Yörük

    ()
    (Boston College)

Abstract

People tend to contribute to a charity only when they are asked to. Although this so-called 'power of asking' is a well-known technique among fundraisers, the existing literature does not pay much attention to the role of donation requests in charitable giving. We estimate the causal effects of charitable solicitations on both the propensity to give and the amount of charitable contributions using a unique data set, which was designed to measure the giving behavior in the United States. In order to address the endogeneity of the donation requests due to non-random solicitation of charitable donors, we link this data set to IRS data on charitable organizations and the 2000 Census and propose identifying instruments. After controlling for the endogeneity, we find that people are both more likely to contribute to a charity and also donate more when they are asked to. This effect is robust under different specifications and with different sets of instruments and is much larger compared with the estimates of univariate models. Furthermore, we argue that some identifiable characteristics of individuals are associated with the higher probability of being solicited. In particular, we find some evidence that income, age, education, and race play significant roles in explaining the selection of potential charitable donors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 653.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 26 Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:653

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Keywords: charitable contributions; charitable solicitations; non-profit organizations;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barış Yörük, 2012. "Do fundraisers select charitable donors based on gender and race? Evidence from survey data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 219-243, January.
  2. Alvaro Jose Name, 2014. "Learning by Fund-raising," Economics Working Papers we1408, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2011. "The ABCs of charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 363-371.
  4. Murat C. Mungan & Bariş K. Yörük, 2012. "Fundraising and Optimal Policy Rules," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 625-652, 08.
  5. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2008. "The ABCs of Charitable Solicitation," Working Papers 1057, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  6. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2013. "Can You Spare Some Change For Charity? Experimental Evidence On Verbal Cues And Loose Change Effects In A Dictator Game," Working Papers 1318, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
  7. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  8. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link Between Charitable and Political Contributions," Discussion Papers 13-09, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  9. Yörük, BarIs K., 2008. "The power of asking in volunteering: Evidence from a matched sample," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 79-84, April.

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