The Science of Giving: Experimental Approaches to the Study of Charity

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-10-21
  • Publisher: Psychology Pres

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Americans donate over 300 billion dollars a year to charity, but the psychological factors that govern whether to give, and how much to give, are still not well understood. Our understanding of charitable giving is based primarily upon the intuitions of fundraisers or correlational data which cannot establish causal relationships. By contrast, the chapters in this book study charity using experimental methods in which the variables of interest are experimentally manipulated. As a result, it becomes possible to identify the causal factors that underlie giving, and to design effective intervention programs that can help increase the likelihood and amount that people contribute to a cause.For charitable organizations, this book examines the efficacy of fundraising strategies commonly used by nonprofits and makes concrete recommendations about how to make capital campaigns more efficient and effective. Moreover, a number of novel factors that influence giving are identified and explored, opening the door to exciting new avenues in fundraising.For researchers, this book breaks novel theoretical ground in our understanding of how charitable decisions are made. While the chapters focus on applications to charity, the emotional, social, and cognitive mechanisms explored herein all have more general implications for the study of psychology and behavioral economics.This book highlights some of the most intriguing, surprising, and enlightening experimental studies on the topic of donation behavior, opening up exciting pathways to cross-cutting the divide between theory and practice.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
About the Editorsp. ix
Contributorsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
The Value of Giving
Feeling Good About Giving: The Benefits (and Costs) of Self-Interested Charitable Behaviorp. 3
A Model of the Value of Giving to Others Compared to the Value of Having More for Oneself: Implications for Fundraisers Seeking to Maximize Donor Satisfactionp. 15
Precommitment to Charityp. 35
When Noble Means Hinder Noble Ends: The Benefits and Costs of a Preference for Martyrdom in Altruismp. 49
The Impact of Social Factors
Social Influences in Giving: Field Experiments in Public Radiop. 65
How Social Norms, Price, and Scrutiny Influence Donation Behavior: Evidence From Four Natural Field Experimentsp. 81
The Norm of Self-Interest: Implications for Charitable Givingp. 113
The Identifiable Victim Effect: Causes and Boundary Conditionsp. 133
The Role of Emotions
Sympathy Biases and Sympathy Appeals: Reducing Social Distance to Boost Charitable Contributionsp. 149
Affective Motivations to Help Others: A Two-Stage Model of Donation Decisionsp. 161
Donate Different: External and Internal Influences on Emotion-Based Donation Decisionsp. 179
Other Important Influences on Charitable Giving
The Benefits of Asking for Timep. 201
Heuristics and Biases in Charityp. 215
The Critical Link Between Tangibility and Generosityp. 237
Indexp. 253
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