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Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving

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  • Anya Samek
  • Roman Sheremeta

Abstract

Recognizing donors by revealing their identities is important for increasing charitable giving. We conducted a field experiment to examine how different recognition methods impact giving, and found that all forms of recognition that we examined had a positive impact on increasing donations, whereby recognizing only highest donors (positive recognition) and recognizing only lowest donors (negative recognition) had the most pronounced effect. We argue that selective recognition (both positive and negative) creates tournament-like incentives. Recognizing the highest donors activates the desire to seek a positive prize of prestige, thus increasing the proportion of donors who contribute large amounts. Recognizing the lowest donors activates the desire to avoid a negative prize of shame, thus decreasing the proportion of donors who do not contribute or contribute very little. Therefore, selective recognition is an effective tool that can be used in the field by charities to increase donations.

Suggested Citation

  • Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2015. "Selective Recognition: How to Recognize Donors to Increase Charitable Giving," Natural Field Experiments 00431, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00431
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    Cited by:

    1. David Clingingsmith & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2018. "Status and the demand for visible goods: experimental evidence on conspicuous consumption," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 21(4), pages 877-904, December.
    2. repec:eee:soceco:v:78:y:2019:i:c:p:193-199 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:jecsur:v:32:y:2018:i:3:p:683-704 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Roman M. Sheremeta, 2018. "Behavior In Group Contests: A Review Of Experimental Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 683-704, July.
    5. Arbel, Yuval & Bar-El, Ronen & Schwarz, Mordechai E. & Tobol, Yossi, 2019. "To What Do People Contribute? Ongoing Operations vs. Sustainable Supplies," IZA Discussion Papers 12180, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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