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Personalized fundraising: A field experiment on threshold matching of donations

Maja Adena () and Steffen Huck ()

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

Abstract: While increasing the number of small donors, standard linear matching schemes have been shown to cause considerable crowding out in charitable giving with pronounced effects on large gifts. We propose a form of threshold matching where donations above a certain, potentially personalized, threshold are topped up with a fixed amount. We show theoretically that threshold matching can induce crowd-ing in if appropriately personalized. In a field experiment, we explore how thresholds should be chosen depending on past donations. We find that the opti-mal choice of thresholds is rather bold, approximately 60-75% above past dona-tions. Additionally, we explore how thresholds should be set for new donors as a function of their personal characteristics and demonstrate the benefits of person-alization as opposed to setting general thresholds applying to all recipients of a fundraising call.

Keywords: charitable giving; field experiments; matching donations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D12 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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