When people get appeals for one charity, and respond by donating, this may make them less likely to donate to other charities. If charities are thus in competition, but they share similar ultimate goals, they may do better in net by limiting and coordinating their fundraising activities.

Alternative tool name: Crowding-out, expenditure substitution

Tool variation:

Category: Incentives/gifts


Relevant theories: Moral licencing, Warm glow - sophisticated

Type of evidence: Field-exp-charity, Field-exp-charity, Causal-observational (IV etc), Causal-observational (IV etc), Natural experiment , Lab-charity

Evidence strength (ad hoc assessment):

Main findings

Mixed evidence on whether a charitable ask or incentive for one charity reduces donations to other charities. Estimates range from zero to complete crowding-out. For similar charities?, esp for larger givers;? for those offered matches; for repeated asks. Specific appeals/tools have been found to increase *overall* giving (and not be completely crowded out). In other studies a complete 'time-shifting' effect cannot be ruled out, but these are often underpowered.


Practical relevance

NOT A TOOL per se … but relates to how much should we ask people to switch This also motivates 'local appeals being a barrier' to EA giving. Not clear what the tool is.

Use cases


Often relevant

Key papers

Secondary papers

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  • tools/charities_collaboratecompete.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/02/28 02:30
  • by david