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Can Tailored Communications Motivate Environmental Volunteers? A Natural Field Experiment

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  • Omar Al-Ubaydli
  • Min Lee

Abstract

Volunteering is a significant component of economic activity, especially for environmental organizations. Environmental organizations that rely on volunteers communicate with them using a variety of media, such as newsletters. This is a field experiment investigating whether tailoring the content of these communications to the stated motivations of a volunteer has a positive effect on the number of hours he/she volunteers. For the non-profit in our study, we find that such tailoring has an effect only for volunteers motivated primarily by career concerns. We also find this to be robust to the volunteers being aware that the tailoring is occurring.

Suggested Citation

  • Omar Al-Ubaydli & Min Lee, 2011. "Can Tailored Communications Motivate Environmental Volunteers? A Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 323-328, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:323-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Craig E. Landry & Andreas Lange & John A. List & Michael K. Price & Nicholas G. Rupp, 2006. "Toward an Understanding of the Economics of Charity: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 747-782.
    2. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julian Conrads & Bernd Irlenbusch & Tommaso Reggiani & Rainer Michael Rilke & Dirk Sliwka, 2016. "How to hire helpers? Evidence from a field experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 577-594, September.
    2. Yeomans, Michael & Al-Ubaydli, Omar, 2018. "How does fundraising affect volunteering? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 57-72.
    3. Olivier Body, 2014. "When Is Speech Silver and Silence Golden ?A Field Experiment on an Information Campaign," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2014-32, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2014. "Sign Me Up! A Model and Field Experiment on Volunteering," Working Papers 1043, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    5. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Yeomans, Mike, 2017. "Do people donate more when they perceive a single beneficiary whom they know? A field experimental test of the identifiability effect," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 96-103.
    6. Marina Della Giusta & Sarah Jewell & Rachel McCloy, 2012. "Good Enough? Pro-environmental Behaviors, Climate Change and Licensing," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2012-03, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    7. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Yeomans, Mike, 2014. "Do people donate more when they perceive a single beneficiary whom they know? A field experimental test of the identifiability effect," MPRA Paper 55382, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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