A fundraiser can focus on/frame charity beneficiaries who have suffered a loss relative to how they were in the past, or how they could have been in the absence of some negative factor or event.

Alternative tool name:

Tool variation:

Category: Info/communications

Sub-category: Mixed

Relevant theories: Reference-dependent sympathy

Type of evidence:

Evidence strength (ad hoc assessment): 5

Main findings

In a large-scale experiment, framing the charitable recipient (an Indian widow) as having suffered a *loss* relative to her previous standard of living raised 1/3 more than the control condition.


Practical relevance

Put in HUB but maybe not paper. There are a lot of EA charities with poor people you could depict. But not clear if we want to use this. However, the Givewell charities seem to be missing this to a large extent. “Reference point” could be important because of the perception that “people in Kenya have always been poor”.

Use cases


Key papers

Secondary papers

Contributors David Reinstein

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  • tools/frame_recipients_loss.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/02/28 02:29
  • by david