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Does Irritation Induced by Charitable Direct Mailings Reduce Donations?

Merel van Diepen, Bas Donkers () and Philip Hans Franses

No ERS-2008-036-MKT, ERIM Report Series Research in Management from Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam

Abstract: Charities mainly rely on direct mailings to attract the attention of potential donators. Individuals may feel irritated by these mailings, in particular when they receive many mailings. We study the consequences of perceived irritation on stated behavior and on actual behavior. Target selection by charities likely results in good donators receiving many mailings and hence they might also be most irritated. Therefore, irritation with direct mailings might be endogenously determined. To create exogenous variation in irritation, we design a unique controlled field experiment in cooperation with five of the largest charities in the Netherlands. Our analysis reveals that direct mailings do result in irritation, but surprisingly this affects neither stated nor actual donating behavior.

Keywords: charity donations; direct marketing; field experiment; irritation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C44 M M31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-06-30
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Journal Article: Does irritation induced by charitable direct mailings reduce donations? (2009) Downloads
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