High-Capacity Donors’ Preferences for Charitable Giving
How can charities solicit high-capacity donors to provide the funds for matching grants and leadership gifts? In conjunction with one of Texas A&M University’s fundraising organizations, we conducted a field experiment to study whether high-income donors respond to non-personal solicitations, as well as the effect of allowing for directed giving on high-income donors and their willingness to direct their donations towards overhead costs. We found that high-income donors are not responsive to letters or e-mails. The option to direct giving had no effect on the probability of donating or the amount donated. Our results suggest that motivating high-income donors requires more personal communication.
We thank the Texas A&M Foundation and specifically Mark Klemm, Kristin Marcum, Kathy McCoy, Chris Speier, Diana Tomlin, Tyson Voelkel, and Sondra White, as well as seminar participants at IUPUI and USC Price School of Public Policy. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation through grant number SES-1338680 The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.