Can Tailored Communications Motivate Volunteers? A Field Experiment
AbstractOver 25% of the US population volunteers. Clary et al. (1998) devised a survey that identifies a volunteer's primary motive for volunteering. We investigate the effect of tailoring the communications that volunteers receive from their organizations (e.g., printed newsletters, update emails) to each volunteer's stated motive for volunteering affects volunteer performance. We find that in general, such tailoring has no effect, but that for volunteers who are motivated primarily by the pursuit of career-related benefits, such tailoring can have a substantial, positive effect on hours volunteered. We also find that the (in)effectiveness of this tailoring does not depend upon the volunteers' knowledge of the tailoring. The tailoring of communications does not involve the explicit manipulation of material incentives. This renders it particularly attractive given the emergence of evidence on how extrinsic incentives can crowd out intrinsic incentives, especially in the domain of charitable contributions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1023.
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
volunteering; charitable contributions; priming; stereotype;
Other versions of this item:
- Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min, 2011. "Can tailored communications motivate volunteers? A field experiment," MPRA Paper 30343, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-05-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2011-05-24 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2011-05-24 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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