- Bidding to give in the field: door-to-door fundraisers had it right from the start
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam / Rotterdam: Tinbergen Institute
- Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- TI 2011-070/1
- Document type
- Working paper
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
In a door-to-door fundraising field experiment, we study the impact of fundraising mechanisms on charitable giving. We approached about 4500 households, each participating in either an all-pay auction, a lottery, a non-anonymous voluntary contribution mechanism (VCM), or an anonymous VCM. In contrast to the VCMs, households competed for a prize in the all-pay auction and the lottery. Although the all-pay auction is the superior fundraising mechanism both in theory and in the laboratory, it raised the lowest revenue per household in the field. Our experiment reveals that this can be attributed to substantially lower participation in the all-pay auction than in the other mechanisms while the average donation for those who contribute is only slightly higher. We explore various explanations for this lower participation and favor one that argues that competition in the all-pay mechanism crowds out intrinsic motivations to contribute. Among the non-anonymous mechanisms, the lottery raises the largest revenue per household. Notably, the method that scored best, the anonymous VCM, is the one most used by door-to-door fundraisers in the Netherlands.
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