Research / BFI Working PaperDec 16, 2019

Do Appeals to Donor Benefits Raise More Money than Appeals to Recipient Benefits? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Pick.Click.Give.

John List, James J. Murphy, Michael K. Price, Alexander G. James

We partnered with Alaska’s Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions Program to implement a statewide natural field experiment with 540,000 Alaskans designed to explore whether targeted appeals emphasizing donor benefits through warm glow impact donations. Results highlight the relative import of appeals to self. Individuals who received such an appeal were 4.5 percent more likely to give and gave 20 percent more than counterparts in the control group. Yet, a message that instead appealed to recipient benefits had no effect on average donations relative to the control group. We also find evidence of long-run effects of warm glow appeals in the subsequent year.

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