Do Thank-You Calls Increase Charitable Giving? Expert Forecasts and Field Experimental Evidence
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
Calling to thank donors is considered a key fundraising strategy in
the charitable giving industry. Yet the effectiveness of thank-you
calls remains untested. We conduct field experiments with public
television stations and a national non-profit in which 500,000
new donors were randomized to receive a thank-you call or not.
Fundraising professionals predicted that the calls—which followed
standard practices in the industry—would increase donor retention
by 80%. In stark contrast, we found a precisely estimated null
effect of calls on donor retention.
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