These studies investigate the impact of donation anchor points and matched fundraising.

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Keywords: donation anchor points, framing, facts/statistics, story

 

Source: ‘The impact of direct marketing appeals on charitable marketing effectiveness’, by G. E. Smith and P. D. Berger, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (1996) vol. 24.3, pp.219-231

Conclusions: This experiment, involving 18144 recipients of charity direct mail appeals, found that

1. Suggesting a specific donation amount (e.g. £2), whether low or high, had no influence on the size of donation obtained.

2. Suggesting a lower donation amount obtained substantially more responses than suggesting a higher donation amount.

3. Positive framing (e.g. describing outcomes in terms of more lives saved) obtained a higher response rate than negative framing (e.g. lives lost)

4. However, negative framing obtained a higher donation amounts than positive framing.

5. Including or not including factual/statistical details did not influence response rates. 

6. Including factual/statistical details obtained a substantially higher donation amount, than appeals which did not include factual/statistical details.

7. Including or not including narrative/experiential information did not influence response rates.

8. Including narrative/experiential information obtained a substantially higher donation amount than appeals which did not include narrative/experiential information.

In summary, including a low suggested donation amount + factual/statistical information + a story/experience obtained the highest donation total, but data comparing the effects of positive/negative framing was less conclusive.

Key caveats: The experiment took place in the USA, and all of the recipients were university alumni who had made at least one prior donation to the university.

 

URL/DOI: 10.1177/0092070396243003

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Keywords: donation anchor points, representing supporters

 

Source: 'Effects of legitimizing small contributions and labeling potential donors as 'helpers' on responses to a direct mail solicitation for charity', by William DeJong and Arvo J. Oopik Psychological Reports (1992) vol. 7, pp. 923-928.

 

Conclusions: In a split test of a fundraising direct mailshot:

1. Stating that the mail recipient was known to be a helper, and reinforcing this with a small gift such as a sticker saying ‘I help out’, did not substantially increase donations.

2. Legitimising small contributions (e.g. with statements such as ‘every penny counts’) tended to lower contributions, although the difference was not statistically significant.

 

Key caveats: The experiment took place in the USA.

 

URL/DOI: 10.2466/pr0.1992.71.3.923

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Keywords: donation anchor points, matched fundraising

 

Source: ‘Does price matter in charitable giving? Evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment’, by D. Karlan and J. A. List, The American Economic Review (2007) vol. 97.5, pp.1774-1793

Conclusions: This study found that

1. An offer to match the donation increased both the response rate and the amount donated.

2. The size of the ratio of a pledged match (e.g. $3:$1 vs. $1:$1) made no statistically significant difference to the response rates or the amount donated.

 

Key caveats: All participants had previously donated to charity. This study took place in America.        

 

URL/DOI: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30034584

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Keywords: matched fundraising

 

Source: ‘Matched fundraising: Evidence from a natural field experiment’, by S. Huck and I. Rasul, Journal of Public Economics (2011) vol. 95.5-6, pp.351-362

 

Conclusions: This study found that:

1. Matching schemes raise the total donations received including the match value, but partially crowd out the actual donations given excluding the match.

2. Announcing a lead gift was the most positively influential factor on donation amount.

 

Key caveats: All participants were personal invested in the fundraising project’s outcomes.        

 

URL/DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.10.005

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Keywords: donation anchor points, matched fundraising

 

Source: Small matches and charitable giving: Evidence from a natural field experiment’, by D. Karlan, J. A. List and E. Shafir, Journal of Public Economics (2011) vol. 95.5-6, pp.344-350

 

Conclusions: This study found that:

1. There was only weak evidence that small matched donation pledges ($1:$1 and $1:$3) work.

2. Donors who already actively donated to the charity were positively influenced by the small matched donation pledges.

3. Prior donors who had ceased giving to the charity were not positively influenced by the small matched donation pledges.

 

Key caveats: All participants had previously donated to charity. This study took place in America.                  

 

URL/DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.11.024

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Keywords: emotion, persuasion, choice, donation anchor points
 

Source: ‘The emotional cost of charitable donations’, by E. Rubaltelli and S. Agnoli, Cognition and Emotion (2012) vol. 26.5, pp.769-785
 

Conclusions: This experiment found that
1. Given the choice between giving €150 and helping one woman, or giving €450 and helping three women, most participants chose to give €150 and help one woman.
2. Given the choice between giving €150 and helping one woman, or giving €450 and helping three women, or giving €500 and helping two women, most participants chose to give €450 and help three women

 

Key caveats: This study took place in Italy. The study took place under laboratory conditions. All of the participants were undergraduates and 76% were female. The situation was hypothetical, therefore the results may not be reflective of actual behaviour in a similar real life situation
 

URL/DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.613921
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