Pledge campaigns to encourage charitable giving: a randomised controlled trial.

Sarah Cotterill, Peter John, Liz Richardson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Introduction: This paper reports the design of a randomised controlled trial which aims to test firstly whether asking people to pledge makes it more likely that they will later donate to a charitable campaign and secondly whether people are more likely to pledge and later donate if they are told their involvement will be made public. There is a limited amount of research on pledging and from the available research it is difficult to know whether pledging works or not: pledges are usually invited as part of a wider publicity campaign, making it difficult to identify the effect of the pledge on its own (e.g. Burn and Oskamp, 1986; Ludwig et. al., 2005; Mckenzie-Mohr and Smith, 2006). Methods: The research is being undertaken in Manchester, in partnership with the Community HEART charity. A sample population of individuals are randomly assigned to one of three groups. Members of all three groups are sent information advertising an upcoming charity campaign to develop school libraries in South Africa: they are told that in a few weeks they will be asked to donate either a children’s book or a used mobile phone. Treatment group one is asked to return a pledge card promising to make a donation. Treatment group two is asked to return a pledge card and advised that a list of donors will be publicly advertised. The control group simply receive a campaign letter without being asked to pledge. Some weeks later all participants are asked to donate a book or phone. The outcome measures are whether a pledge is made and whether a charitable donation is received. References Burn, S. M. and Oskamp, S (1986) Increasing Community Recycling with Persuasive Communication and Public Commitment, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 1, 29-41 Ludwig, T. D. et. al. (2005) Using Social Marketing to Increase the Use of Helmets Among Bicyclists. Journal of American College Health. 54, 1 51-58 McKenzie-Mohr, D. & Smith, W. (1999) Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationhost publication
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventRandomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences: Evaluating Policy Interventions - York
    Duration: 14 Sept 200916 Sept 2009


    ConferenceRandomised Controlled Trials in the Social Sciences: Evaluating Policy Interventions


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