NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Does Fundraising Create New Giving?

Jonathan Meer

NBER Working Paper No. 22033
Issued in February 2016, Revised in March 2016
NBER Program(s):Public Economics

Despite an extensive literature on the impacts of a variety of charitable fundraising techniques, little is known about whether these activities increase overall giving or merely cause donors to substitute away from other causes. Using detailed data from Donorschoose.org, an online platform linking teachers with prospective donors, I examine the extent to which matching grants for donations to certain requests affect giving to others. Eligibility for matches is determined in entirely by observable attributes of the request, providing an exogenous source of variation in incentives to donate to between charities. I find that, while matches increase giving to eligible requests, they do not appear to crowd out giving to similar ones, either contemporaneously or over time.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22033

Published: Jonathan Meer, 2017. "Does fundraising create new giving?," Journal of Public Economics, vol 145, pages 82-93. citation courtesy of

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