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Online fundraising, self-deception, and the long-term impact of ask avoidance

Author

Listed:
  • Adena, Maja
  • Huck, Steffen

Abstract

We study an online fundraising campaign run on an opera ticket booking plat-form. After establishing a baseline, a first change doubled the donation grid. A second change altered the navigation of the website rendering the act of declining to donate more salient. The contribution of our paper is fourfold. First, we add to the literature on defaults by showing how donation grids can have dramatic im-pacts on giving. Second, we demonstrate that small, apparently superficial chang-es in the design of a campaign can have unexpectedly large consequences (offset-ting the effects of changes in the choice architecture). Third, we provide the first field evidence for the role of self-image in charitable giving. Finally, we provide stark evidence on adverse long-run effects of fundraising campaigns for ticket selling entities. "Avoiding the ask," non-frequent customers buy fewer tickets in the following opera season. Ticket sales per person fall by €16-32, while average charitable income from the same group during the campaign is just €0.26.

Suggested Citation

  • Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2016. "Online fundraising, self-deception, and the long-term impact of ask avoidance," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2016306
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Trier Damgaard, Mette & Gravert, Christina, 2016. "The hidden costs of nudging: Experimental evidence from reminders in fundraising," Working Papers in Economics 650, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Grossman, Zachary, 2015. "Self-signaling and social-signaling in giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 26-39.
    3. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton%20instruments%20of%20development%20keynes%20lecture%202009 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2013. "Experimental evidence of self-image concerns as motivation for giving," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 19-27.
    5. Meer, Jonathan, 2014. "Effects of the price of charitable giving: Evidence from an online crowdfunding platform," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 113-124.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1128, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    7. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-555, March.
    8. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen & Rasul, Imran, 2014. "Charitable Giving and Nonbinding Contribution-Level Suggestions - Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Behavioral Economics, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, May.
    9. David Reiley & Anya Samek, 2015. "How Do Suggested Donations Affect Charitable Gifts? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Public Broadcasting," Natural Field Experiments 00422, The Field Experiments Website.
    10. repec:pri:rpdevs:instruments_of_development is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Castillo, Marco & Petrie, Ragan & Wardell, Clarence, 2014. "Fundraising through online social networks: A field experiment on peer-to-peer solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 29-35.
    12. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton%20instruments%20of%20development%20keynes%20lecture%202009.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    13. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    14. Exley, Christine L. & Petrie, Ragan, 2018. "The impact of a surprise donation ask," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 152-167.
    15. Daniel W. Elfenbein & Ray Fisman & Brian Mcmanus, 2012. "Charity as a Substitute for Reputation: Evidence from an Online Marketplace," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1441-1468.
    16. repec:pri:rpdevs:instruments_of_development.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Kesternich, Martin & Römer, Daniel & Flues, Florens, 2016. "The power of active choice: Field experimental evidence on repeated contribution decisions to a carbon offsetting program," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-091, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Gaudeul, Alexia & Kaczmarek, Magdalena Claudia, 2016. ""Many a slip between the cup and the lip": The effect of default-based nudges on prosocial behavior and attitudes," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 297, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Gaudeul, Alexia & Kaczmarek, Magdalena C., 2017. "Does nudging intentions translate into action? Why nudging pledges to charities does not result in increased donations," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 318, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Adena, Maja & Huck, Steffen, 2016. "A field experiment on crowdfunding for a club good," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-308, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Adena, Maja & Alizade, Jeyhun & Bohner, Frauke & Harke, Julian & Mesters, Fabio, 2017. "Quality certifications for nonprofits, charitable giving, and donor's trust: experimental evidence," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2017-302, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    online fundraising; quasi-experiment; self-image;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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