What causes people to donate (more) to charity

Defining the question

Define a question so it will be useful

  • For 'basic science', understanding fundamentals
    • Genetic determinants of generosity?
    • Social environment and peer networks
  • For practice and policy:
    • Tools fundraisers can use (promotions, incentives, social pressure…)
    • Tools charities can use (choice of programs, publicity, cost structure, donor recognition, give donors actual influence)
    • Tools government can use (tax incentives, legal regimes)

Flavors of this question:

  • Does X cause people to donate more on average?
  • Does X cause more people to donate?

These questions are both relevant, but for different purposes.

  • Does treatment X cause people to donate more to the specific charity that uses this treatment?
  • Does treatment X cause people to donate more to charities overall?
  • In the short run?
  • Over the relevant lifetime?

Compare: SPI 'open questions'


The Supply Side and Human Behavior

  • What are the motivations, distinguishing theories, what factors 'attenuate'
  • How do preferences and beliefs translate into behavior
  • Relationships to :
    • Culture? Suggest cross-cultural experiments.
    • Life cycle
    • Nature/nurture

SPI open questions …

The Demand Side and Solicitation Mechanisms

  • How should charities use 'upfront money' to attract more?
  • Social distance of donors (and fundraisers or recipients or the charity)
  • Tools to encourage continuing contributions vs initial ones

Why do some charities succeed but others fail, and how do solicitation mechanisms or social distance of donors play a role? What causes donors to remain committed to the cause, what are the best solicitation mechanisms to encourage continuing donations, and do these differ from mechanisms aimed to prompt initial donations?

SPI open questions …

The Market for Charity Contributions and Public Policy Implications

  • Crowding out of government grants
    • they believe it exists, seek the 'mechanism': donors' or fundraisers' change behavior
    • crowd-out of other donors/foundations
  • Do mechanisms like charitable lotteries crowd out other giving?

Andreoni and Payne - Major approaches to researching giving:

  1. an individual economic decision
  2. a strategic interaction (between donors, charities, governments, foundations)
  3. a 'social exchange': (reputation, more than this?)
  • ' a charitable donation is rarely made in the absence of an overt request to give' [DR: this is too strong a statement; undoubtedly many people give as a habit or motivated by something they see in the news etc.]
  • 'empathic, moral, and cultural urges' ( Empathy, justice, leaving moral impressions on others))

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  • iifwiki/researchdiscussion.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/03/19 12:55
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