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How Responsive are Charitable Donors to Requests to Give?

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  • Bariş K. Yörük

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

People tend to contribute to a charity only when they are asked to. Although this so-called 'power of asking' is a well-known technique among fundraisers, the existing literature does not pay much attention to the role of donation requests in charitable giving. We estimate the causal effects of charitable solicitations on both the propensity to give and the amount of charitable contributions using a unique data set, which was designed to measure the giving behavior in the United States. In order to address the endogeneity of the donation requests due to non-random solicitation of charitable donors, we link this data set to IRS data on charitable organizations and the 2000 Census and propose identifying instruments. After controlling for the endogeneity, we find that people are both more likely to contribute to a charity and also donate more when they are asked to. This effect is robust under different specifications and with different sets of instruments and is much larger compared with the estimates of univariate models. Furthermore, we argue that some identifiable characteristics of individuals are associated with the higher probability of being solicited. In particular, we find some evidence that income, age, education, and race play significant roles in explaining the selection of potential charitable donors.

Suggested Citation

  • Bariş K. Yörük, 2006. "How Responsive are Charitable Donors to Requests to Give?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 653, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2011. "The ABCs of charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5-6), pages 363-371, June.
    2. Yörük, Barış K., 2014. "Does giving to charity lead to better health? Evidence from tax subsidies for charitable giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 71-83.
    3. Murat C. Mungan & Bariş K. Yörük, 2012. "Fundraising and Optimal Policy Rules," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 625-652, August.
    4. Baris Yoruk, 2013. "Are Generous People More Likely to Vote?," Discussion Papers 13-10, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    5. Barış Yörük, 2012. "Do fundraisers select charitable donors based on gender and race? Evidence from survey data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 219-243, January.
    6. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles, 2015. "Can you spare some change for charity? Experimental evidence on verbal cues and loose change effects in a Dictator Game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(4), pages 718-730, December.
    7. Yörük Bariş K., 2015. "Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link between Charitable and Political Contributions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-29, January.
    8. repec:pri:cepsud:173rosen is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Name Correa, Álvaro José, 2014. "Learning by Fund-raising," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1408, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
    10. Yörük, BarIs K., 2008. "The power of asking in volunteering: Evidence from a matched sample," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 79-84, April.
    11. Sanders, Michael & Smith, Sarah, 2016. "Can simple prompts increase bequest giving? Field evidence from a legal call centre," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 179-191.
    12. sarah Brown & Mark N Harris & Karl Taylor, 2010. "Modelling Charitable Donations: A Latent Class Panel Approach," Working Papers 2010017, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2010.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    charitable contributions; charitable solicitations; non-profit organizations;

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General
    • L38 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Policy

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