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Matched Fundraising: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

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  • Huck, Steffen

    ()
    (University College London)

  • Rasul, Imran

    ()
    (University College London)

Abstract

We present evidence from a natural field experiment designed to shed light on the efficacy of fundraising schemes in which donations are matched by a lead donor. In conjunction with the Bavarian State Opera House, we mailed 14,000 regular opera attendees a letter describing a charitable fundraising project organized by the opera house. Recipients were randomly assigned to treatments designed to explore behavioral responses to linear matching schemes, as well as the mere existence of a substantial lead donor. We use the exogenous variation in match rates across treatments to estimate the price elasticities of charitable giving. We find that straight linear matching schemes raise the total donations received including the match value, but partially crowd out the actual donations given excluding the match. If charitable organizations can use lead gifts as they wish, our results show they maximize donations given by simply announcing the presence of a lead gift. We contrast our price elasticity estimates with those based on changes in rules regarding tax deductions for charitable giving, as well as from the nascent literature using large-scale natural field experiments on giving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5267.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2011, 95 (5-6), 351-362
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5267

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Keywords: matched fundraising; natural field experiment; charitable giving;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nicolas J. Duquette, 2013. "Do Tax Incentives Affect Charitable Contributions? Evidence from Public Charities’ Reported Revenues," 2013 Papers pdu359, Job Market Papers.
  2. Alpízar, Francisco & Martinsson, Peter & Nordén, Anna, 2014. "Do Entrance Fees Crowd Out Donations for Public Goods? Evidence from a Protected Area in Costa Rica," Discussion Papers dp-14-10-efd, Resources For the Future.
  3. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran & Shephard, Andrew, 2013. "Comparing Charitable Fundraising Schemes: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment and a Structural Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 9648, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ugur, Z.B., 2013. "From headscarves to donation: Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5927864, Tilburg University.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran & Shephard, Andrew, 2012. "Comparing charitable fundraising schemes: Evidence from a field experiment and a structural model," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2012-303, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  6. Jim Andreoni & Abigail Payne & Sarah Smith, . "Do The Maths: Do grants to charities crowd out other income? Evidence from the UK Abstract: We present new evidence on the effect of grants on charities’ incomes. We employ a novel identification st," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/301, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  7. 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.
  8. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Pham Khanh, Nam, 2011. "Funding a New Bridge in Rural Vietnam: A field experiment on conditional cooperation and default contributions," Working Papers in Economics 503, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  9. James Andreoni & A. Abigail Payne & Sarah Smith, 2013. "Do Grants to Charities Crowd Out Other Income? Evidence from the UK," NBER Working Papers 18998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2012. "Social Incentives Matter: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," AICCON Working Papers 112-2012, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  11. Johannes Diederich & Timo Goeschl, 2013. "To Give or Not to Give: The Price of Contributing and the Provision of Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 19332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Wardell, Clarence, 2014. "Fundraising through online social networks: A field experiment on peer-to-peer solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 29-35.
  13. Alexander L. Brown & Jonathan Meer & J. Forrest Williams, 2014. "Social Distance and Quality Ratings in Charity Choice," NBER Working Papers 20182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos, 2014. "Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4778, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Bernd Irlenbusch & Rainer Michael Rilke, 2013. "(Public) Good Examples - On the Role of Limited Feedback in Voluntary Contribution Games," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 04-04, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  16. Mette Trier Damgaard & Christina Gravert, 2014. "Now or never! The effect of deadlines on charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Economics Working Papers 2014-03, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  17. Meer, Jonathan, 2014. "Effects of the price of charitable giving: Evidence from an online crowdfunding platform," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 113-124.

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