Picture this. Your public radio station or library fundraising team is hard at work on this year’s campaign. They’re contacting those who have given in past years, but not this one (yet), and new prospects. But this year, they’re doing something different. And it’s really working.
Wharton School operations and information management professor Rachel Croson and a co-author set out to answer this question by examining the influence of social information on contribution behavior. Their goal was to find out whether donors to a public radio station will give more money if they are told the amount of another donor’s contribution. "Our research provides a deeper understanding of what motivates individuals to contribute to the funding of public goods and other charitable organizations," says Croson. It is also "a first step in understanding where social influence is likely to be an important factor to consider in our attempts to improve predictions and explanations of economic behavior."
Not surprisingly, the researchers found that social information plays a significant role in charitable giving. Read about the power of social information in the their results summary and paper, Field Experiments in Charitable Contributions: The Impact of Social Influence on the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods.
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