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.”

Bonus Episode: #GivingTuesday 2021...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

#GivingTuesday in 2020 raised an estimated $2.47 billion both online and offline, which was up 25% from $1.97 billion in 2019. Almost 35 million people participated in 2020. What’s on tap for 2021? According to Woodrow Rosenbaum, that’s up to nonprofits. “We’ve been handed an opportunity. It’s not often that you have an industry that’s […]

Episode 46: The 2021 NPT 100...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

MacKenzie Scott’s billions of dollars in mega gifts and American donors’ response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) fueled the largest charities in the United States last year. The 2021 NPT 100 ranks the largest nonprofits in the U.S. that derive at least 10% of total revenue from public support. Colleges and universities are not included […]

Episode 45: The Charitable Tax Deduction & Civic Engagement...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

Nonprofits have been pushing for a universal charitable deduction for years. The CARES Act created a temporary tax deduction for charitable gifts up to $300 for single or married filers in 2020. Congress extended that into 2021 and increased the deduction to $600 for married couples. Two professors at the University of Virginia proposed a […]

Episode 44: Regulating CEO Pay...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

When the Nonprofit Revitalization Act passed in 2013, it was the first major overhaul of nonprofit regulations in New York State in 40 years. The legislation modernized rules around nonprofit boards and committees and, among other things, prohibited nonprofit officers from being present at meetings where their pay is discussed. In the years since, a […]

Episode 43: Checking Out Charity...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

You finish up your shopping and the cashier asks, “Would you like to donate to a local charity?” Do you give? If you do, how much? Or maybe they ask you, would you like to round up your total to donate the difference? Those are some of the scenarios in a recent experiment. Results of […]

Episode 42: Bitcoin and the Future Of Fundraising...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

The American Cancer Society aims to raise $1 million exclusively through cryptocurrency. Its Cancer Crypto Fund will be renamed in honor of the first donor to contribute $250,000. Donations of at least $10,000 will appear on the Cancer Crypto Fund Wall of Honor. The Salvation Army launched a cryptocurrency option the week before Christmas and […]

Episode 41: Multi-Channel Donor Communications...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

Research shows that multi-channel donors can be worth more than donors who give only online or only offline. But do nonprofits treat multi-channel donors like they’re worth two or three times more to their organization? A recent experiment looked at how nonprofits respond after a gift and the results could surprise you. Gabe Cooper,  CEO […]

Episode 40: The Great DAF Debate...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

Donor-advised funds (DAF) have dominated philanthropy in any number of ways over the past decade, whether it’s increasing charitable contributions, boosting assets, or simply garnering attention within the public square. That could be why it takes a super sized episode of Fresh Research tackle the topic. This episode diverges from the usual format; instead of […]

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

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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...

  • The NonProfit Times |
  • News |

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: […]