Catherine Eckel

Department of Economics
TAMU 4228
College Station, TX 77843

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Texas A&M University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2018High-Capacity Donors’ Preferences for Charitable Giving
with Mackenzie Alston, Jonathan Meer, Wei Zhan: w25290
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.
November 2016It's Not the Thought that Counts: A Field Experiment on Gift Exchange and Giving at a Public University
with David H. Herberich, Jonathan Meer: w22867
One of the most important outstanding questions in fundraising is whether donor premiums, or gifts to prospective donors, are effective in increasing donations. Donors may be motivated by reciprocity, making premium recipients more likely to donate and give larger donations. Or donors may dislike premiums, preferring instead to maximize the value of their donations to the charity; in this case donor premiums would be ineffective. We conduct a field experiment in conjunction with the fundraising campaign of a major university to examine these questions. Treatments include a control, an unconditional premium with two gift quality levels, and a set of conditional premium treatments. The conditional treatments include opt-out and opt-in conditions to test whether donors prefer to forego ...
May 2014A Field Experiment on Directed Giving at a Public University
with David Herberich, Jonathan Meer: w20180
The use of directed giving - allowing donors to target their gifts to specific organizations or functions - is pervasive in fundraising, yet little is known about its effectiveness. We conduct a field experiment at a public university in which prospective donors are presented with either an opportunity to donate to the unrestricted Annual Fund, or an opportunity of donating to the Annual Fund and directing some or all of their donation towards the academic college from which they graduated. While there is no effect on the probability of giving, donations are significantly larger when there is the option of directing. However, the value of the option does not come directly from use, as very few donors choose to direct their gift.

Published: Eckel, Catherine C. & Herberich, David H. & Meer, Jonathan, 2017. "A field experiment on directed giving at a public university," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 66-71. citation courtesy of

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