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Toward a Theory of Charitable Fund-Raising

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  • James Andreoni

Abstract

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.
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Suggested Citation

  • James Andreoni, 1998. "Toward a Theory of Charitable Fund-Raising," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1186-1213, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:106:y:1998:i:6:p:1186-1213
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreoni, James & Bergstrom, Ted, 1996. "Do Government Subsidies Increase the Private Supply of Public Goods?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(3-4), pages 295-308, September.
    2. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
    3. Warr, Peter G., 1982. "Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-138, October.
    4. Anat R. Admati & Motty Perry, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 259-276.
    5. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    6. Marc Bilodeau & Al Slivinski, 1998. "Rational Nonprofit Entrepreneurship," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 551-571, December.
    7. Mark Bagnoli & Barton L. Lipman, 1989. "Provision of Public Goods: Fully Implementing the Core through Private Contributions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 583-601.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    9. Andreoni, James & McGuire, Martin C., 1993. "Identifying the free riders : A simple algorithm for determining who will contribute to a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 447-454, July.
    10. Khanna, Jyoti & Posnett, John & Sandler, Todd, 1995. "Charity donations in the UK: New evidence based on panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 257-272, February.
    11. Steinberg, Richard S, 1987. "Voluntary Donations and Public Expenditures in a Federal System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 24-36, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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