Social Influence On Giving - US Study
16 January 2006 at 12:01 pm
A new report from the US suggests that telling potential donors how much others have given can increase contributions by as much as 12%.
The study called “Field Experiments in Charitable Contributions: The Impact of Social Influence on the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods,” was carried out by researchers from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and from Indiana University in the United States.
The research was carried out during a public-radio fundraiser. Its aim was to determine if providing information on previous donors’ contributions would positively influence people calling to make gifts.
The study found that providing callers with “relevant and appropriate” information about how much a previous donor has given can significantly increase the amount of donations.
During the public-radio station fundraiser, when callers were told that a previous caller had donated $300, a figure representing the top 10 percent of gifts, donations rose by an average of 12 percent over the control group who were not given the information.
The study found that donors appeared to find it useful to have a benchmark to guide their giving and also found that providing this social information leads to increased giving in the next year.
Researchers examined the renewal rate and the amount the donors contributed in the subsequent year, and found that the renewal rate is higher when donors are given the social information than when the donors are not given this information.
They concluded that providing social information significantly increases the renewal rate and the amount one year later is higher (ranging from $US93.97 to $US121.13) than in the group not given the information ($US86.11).