Charitable Memberships, Volunteering, and Discounts: Evidence from a Large-Scale Online Field Experiment
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.
We are grateful to Mike Price and John List for valuable comments on the paper. The authors would also like to thank M+R Strategic Services for their help and suggestions in implementing the field experiment. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Our study is the first to explicitly consider the interaction between fundraising mechanism and mode of previous contributions to the...