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Now or never! The effect of deadlines on charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment

  • Mette Trier Damgaard


    (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)

  • Christina Gravert


    (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University, Denmark)

This study designs two field experiments to estimate the effect of binding deadlines and reminders on charitable giving. We sent out 62,000 e-mails and text messages to prior donors of a large Danish charity while varying the length of the deadline and whether they received a reminder. We find that a reminder increases both the likelihood of making a donation and the amount donated. We find no effect of the deadlines on the propensity to give. Instead we observe a “now-or-never” effect; either donations are made immediately or not at all. In line with the “avoiding-the-ask” theory, both shorter deadlines and the reminder increase the number of requests to be taken off the mailing list.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2014-03.

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Length: 16
Date of creation: 14 Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2014-03
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  1. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Dean Karlan & John A. List, 2006. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence from a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 1, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
  4. Karlan, Dean & List, John A. & Shafir, Eldar, 2011. "Small matches and charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 344-350, June.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Matched fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 351-362.
  6. Gilbert, Ben & Graff Zivin, Joshua, 2014. "Dynamic salience with intermittent billing: Evidence from smart electricity meters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 176-190.
  7. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2011. "Forgetting We Forget: Overconfidence And Memory," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 43-60, 02.
  9. repec:feb:framed:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
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