Episode 15: Reciprocity Decays Over Time

Episode 15: “Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time”

Waiting a month to ask for a gift decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. That’s according to research on positive reciprocity that looked at more than 18,000 donation solicitations by a university hospital system.

“Field study of charitable giving reveals that reciprocity decays over time” was published by Judd Kessler, associate professor of business economics and public policy at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-authors were Amanda Chuan, now an assistant professor at Michigan State University, and Katherine Milkman, also of Wharton.

In this episode of Fresh Research, Kessler talks about the details of the paper, which examined donation requests made by the hospital system via email to a set of former patients in the fourth months after their first hospital visit. An extra 30-day delay between the “provision of medical care and a donation solicitation” decreases the likelihood of a donation by 30 percent. They used donation solicitation data on adult outpatients who visited the hospital system between May 2013 and April 2015.

“Donation rates decline as the time separating a patient’s hospital visit and solicitation increases,” according to the study. “It shows that the percentage of patients who donate decreases considerably (from almost 1.5 percent to 0.4 percent) as the time delay separating the visit from a solicitation increases. This decline over time holds for both the first and last presolicitation hospital visits.”

Judd Kessler

Anytime there’s the possibility that an organization has provided something that a potential donor values, this “kind of psychology could kick in,” Kessler said. “The research is relevant to settings beyond hospitals asking former patients for donations. We see applications of the research to schools that provide you with an education, then later on solicit you for funds. Religious organizations that will provide a variety of services and ask for donations as well. Humane societies, disaster relief organizations, and also cultural institutions. If you enjoy a museum or an opera, you might feel reciprocal and be more likely to give in the weeks or months after those visits.”

Episode 39: Best Nonprofits To Work For 2021...

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Even for the Best Nonprofits To Work For, 2020 was a difficult year. The United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA MAS) rarely has any voluntary turnover among its 21 employees. But like at many nonprofits, the pandemic forced difficult decisions. The organization laid off about one-third of its staff in July. It was among […]

Bonus Episode: Charitable Crowdfunding...

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A new report examines how crowdfunding fits into the larger philanthropic landscape and perceptions of crowdfunding by both crowdfunding donors and non-crowdfunding donors while also looking at charitable behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, Charitable Crowdfunding: Who Gives, to What, and Why? by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, uses data from […]

Episode 38: A Year Into The Pandemic...

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For a lot of nonprofits, it’s been a year of working remotely, replacing in-person events with virtual events and trying to make it through the next quarter. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Pam Keough would have described herself as one of those bosses who believes everyone needs to be in the office. Now, it’s not so […]

Episode 37: Outlook for Charitable Giving...

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Early indicators show that charitable giving was up in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Projections for giving in 2021 and 2022 are even rosier. Charitable giving is expected to increase 4.1% this year, buoyed by individual giving (+6%), and another 5.7% in 2022 on the strength of increased giving via foundations (+8.8%) and […]

Episode 36: Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report...

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Overall giving rose 2% in 2020 compared to 2019 while online donations grew 21%, according to the Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report. Steve MacLaughlin, vice president, production management, at Blackbaud, visits this episode of the Fresh Research podcast to break down the data and what you need to know about 2020 giving. The report is […]

Episode 35: 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report...

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Donor-advised funds (DAF) in 2019 continued their meteoric growth over the past decade and in the first half of 2020 — amidst the coronavirus pandemic — grantmaking by DAFs increased by almost 30 percent. The 2020 Donor-Advised Fund Report is the most comprehensive data on donor-advised funds (DAFs) in the United States. The latest report, […]

Episode 34: Nonprofit Jobs Report...

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Since 1.6 million nonprofit jobs were lost in the three months after the pandemic was declared, steady growth in nonprofit jobs each month was derailed in December, wiping out nearly two months of gains. It’s projected to take 1.5 years for the sector to recover entirely but within most fields it could be a year […]

Episode 33: Effects of overhead on donor decisions...

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If there was a list of dirty words for the nonprofit sector, overhead would likely be number one on the list. In spite of efforts like The Overhead Myth, it can still be a source of frustration for nonprofit employees and executives yet donors still seem to be hung up on the phrase. Ellie Heng […]

Episode 32: The 2020 NPT 100...

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The nation’s largest nonprofits reported aggregate revenue of $86.4 billion in 2019, which is up 1 percent over the previous year. Those figures come from The NonProfit Times‘ 2020 NPT 100 report, a study of the largest nonprofits in the United States. Jacob Harold, executive vice president at Candid, shares his insights during a discussion about […]

Episode 31: Unlocking Generosity with AI...

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The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is exploding and the next few years will be huge for nonprofits in adopting the technology as a strategic tool, from the program side to the fundraising side. Authors Beth Kanter and Allison Fine join this episode of The NonProfit Times‘ Fresh Research podcast to discuss their paper, “Unlocking […]

Episode 30: Charitable Estate Gifts...

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It’s nothing new to fundraisers and planned gift officers that women and childless couples are the prime prospects for bequests and other estate gifts. New research suggests that those are still huge factors in the process but timing your nonprofit’s communication based on recency of gifts might be exactly the wrong way to go. Russell […]

Episode 29: Charity Navigator Encompass Rating System...

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Charity Navigator this month unveiled the first pillar of its new rating system. Years in the making, the Encompass Rating System (ERS) expands the number of charities rated from 9,000 to almost 160,000. President and CEO Michael Thatcher joins the Fresh Research podcast to explain the four “beacons” that will comprise the 100-point rating system: […]

Episode 28: How Civic Engagement Changes in Times of Crisis...

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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the nonprofit sector in a number of ways. What effect COVID-19 might have on charitable behavior, like volunteering, remains to be seen. In this episode, we talk to Nathan Dietz, associate research scholar at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy and a senior researcher at its Do Good […]

Episode 27: Generosity Across Income And Wealth...

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The percentage of household income given to charity each year generally runs about 2 percent across most income levels, but goes up with wealth, according to a new research paper.   Benjamin Priday, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, joined the Fresh Research podcast to discuss, “Generosity Across Income and […]

Episode 26: Best Nonprofits To Work For...

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“I feel I am valued in this organization.” “I can trust what this organization tells me.” “Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.” Those are three of the top 10 drivers identified in the 2020 Best Nonprofits To Work For. The special report appears annually in the April edition of The NonProfit […]

Episode 25: Coronavirus And Your Message To Donors...

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Regular programming for the Fresh Research podcast has been pre-empted this month to tackle the the issue that has impacted life worldwide the past few weeks: the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The NonProfit Times recently hosted a webinar on mail and digital messaging to donors during COVID-19, which has led to widespread shutdowns of non-essential business […]

Episode 24: Appeals to Donor Benefits Versus Recipient Benefits...

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This episode of Fresh Research tackles the options when it comes to donors appeals. Should your appeal take aim at the donor and benefits to them, or instead remind them how their gift would benefit the community? John List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago collaborated with  James J. Murphy […]

Episode 23: Do Thank You Calls Increase Charitable Giving?...

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Thanking donors for their gifts may be the right thing to do but does it lead to more gifts or bigger donations in the future? A thank you call to a donor for their gift may be just polite and considered the right thing to do but a recent study suggests that they won’t impact […]

Episode 22: The Women & Girls Index...

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About $1.60 of every $100 in charitable giving in the United States goes to an organization exclusively dedicated to women and girls. A new report estimates that more than 45,000 nonprofit organizations are dedicated to women and girls and receive about $6.3 billion in charitable contributions. That makes up about 3.3 percent of all charities […]

Episode 21: #GivingTuesday...

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#GivingTuesday will be here before you know it. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving — this year, Dec. 3 — is when the charitable sector has come together to help offset the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday last year was responsible for raising an estimated $400 million. That figure has grown each year since […]