Online Fund-Raising Mechanisms: A Field Experiment

Yan Chen 1 , 1 , Xin Li 2 , 2  and Jeffrey K MacKie-Mason 3 , 3
  • 1 University of Michigan, yanchen@umich.edu
  • 2 University of Michigan, xinl@umich.edu
  • 3 University of Michigan, jmm@umich.edu

Abstract

We implemented one of the first web-based online field experiments of fund-raising. We embedded our experiment in the Internet Public Library to test four mechanisms: Voluntary Contribution (VCM), Premium, Seed Money and Matching. Although the gift size is not significantly different across mechanisms, the Seed and Matching mechanisms each generate significantly higher user click-through response rate than the Premium mechanism. Because this is one of the earliest embedded, web-based field experiments, we report our methodology findings in some detail. Cookies work better as participant assignment techniques than pop-up windows and elicitation of geographic information. Participant clickstream data that nominally demonstrate a desire to donate is a poor predictor of actual giving.

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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (BEJEAP) is an international forum for scholarship that employs microeconomics to analyze issues in business, consumer behavior and public policy. Topics include the interaction of firms, the functioning of markets, the effects of domestic and international policy and the design of organizations and institutions.

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