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Can mass fundraising harm your core business? A field experiment on how fundraising affects ticket sales

Maja Adena () and Steffen Huck ()

Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change from WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Abstract: Some companies engage in mass fundraising - where thousands of recipients are asked to make small donations - in addition to their core business. Via a corpo-rate social responsibility (CSR) channel this may increase sales. However, recent research uncovered significant "ask avoidance" which, if present, could imply that fundraising activities may harm a company's core business. Here we examine how asking for donations affects ticket sales of a publically owned leading opera company. In two large-scale randomized controlled trials with a total of over 50,000 opera visitors, who are asked to donate for a social youth project, we find that donations can crowd out ticket expenditure during a campaign. But for the longer run we observe a precisely estimated null effect.

Keywords: Charitable giving; field experiments; ask avoidance; corporate social responsibility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D12 D64 L21 M14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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