The Impact of a Pledge Request and the Promise of Publicity: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Charitable Donations

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Abstract

Objective: This study investigates whether asking people to make a pledge causes them to donate to a charitable cause and whether the promise of public recognition increases the effectiveness of the request. Method: A randomized controlled trial in Manchester, United Kingdom, where households were sent letters asking them to donate a book for school libraries in South Africa. Results: People who are asked to make a pledge and offered local public recognition are more likely to make a book donation than the control group. The combination of requesting a pledge and offering publicity raises book donations from 7.3 percent to 8.9 percent of households, an effect size of 22 percent. Asking people to pledge alone, without the promise of publicity has no statistically significant impact on giving. Conclusion: Combining a pledge request and the promise of local publicity increases individual charitable donations. © 2012 by the Southwestern Social Science Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-216
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume94
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

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