NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Charitable Memberships, Volunteering, and Discounts: Evidence from a Large-Scale Online Field Experiment

Andreas Lange, Andrew Stocking

NBER Working Paper No. 14941
Issued in May 2009
NBER Program(s):   EEE   PE

Despite the increasing use by charities, significant uncertainty exists about optimal online fundraising mechanisms, especially when large donor pools show substantial heterogeneities. We use an online natural field experiment with over 700,000 subjects to test theory on price discounts and show large differences in donation behavior between donors who have previously given money and/or volunteered. For example, framing the charity's membership price as a discount increases response rates and decreases conditional contributions from former volunteers, but not from past money donors. Our study thereby demonstrates the importance of conditioning fundraising strategies on the specifics of past donation dimensions.

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