Preliminary results from an experiment co-conducted by The Life You Can Save suggests that Giving Games have a positive impact on future donor behavior.
To help us better understand how Giving Games can influence donor behavior, The Life You Can Save recently conducted an experiment to test our philanthropy education model in a controlled laboratory environment. In designing and executing this experiment, I partnered with Dan Houser, the chair of the department of economics at George Mason University and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, and Luigi Butera, a postdoctoral fellow in economics at the University of Chicago.
Giving Game participants have the opportunity to donate a predetermined sum of money to charity. This means that participants get to engage in charitable behavior, but don’t have to dish out their own money in order to do so. We structured our study to examine whether this dynamic promotes pro-social behavior, looking specifically at actions that could influence long-term giving behavior.
Our experiment followed a simple design:
What did this experiment tell us?
Subjects who participated in a Giving Game donated significantly more of their own earnings to charity, and were also significantly more likely to sign up for mailing lists than those in the control group. Having the opportunity to play a Giving Game roughly quadrupled the average donation and average number of mailing list signups per participant. Giving Game participants were twice as likely to sign up for at least one mailing list relative to subjects in the control group. The table below summarizes these results:
A recent experiment co-conducted by The Life You Can Save suggests that subjects who participate in Giving Games were significantly more likely to contribute their own money to charity, relative to those who were not given an opportunity to participate.
We find these results extremely encouraging for our Giving Game program. The key characteristics of the model appear to cause dramatic increases in measures of pro-social behavior. Our tasks going forward will be to fine-tune the model to make it as effective as possible, and to expand our research to investigate what long-term impact Giving Games might have.
The Life You Can Save is a movement of people fighting extreme poverty. We hold that an ethical life involves using some of our wealth and resources to save and improve the lives of those less fortunate than us.
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