Charitable giving can boost an individual’s image, and organizations can capitalize on this by engaging in “image-fundraising.” Public announcements of donations give individuals the opportunity to demonstrate their generosity and are found to increase giving. This paper evaluates whether generosity inferred from charitable giving is discounted when donations are made in response to image-fundraising. I show in an experimental study that others reward larger donations, and that image-fundraising increases giving. However, others account for the conditions under which donations are made and reduce rewards for giving in an image-fundraising environment. While image-fundraising benefits charitable organizations, individuals are not recompensed for donating more in this setting.
charitable giving, social image motives, prosocial behavior, experiments
Winichakul, K. Pun, "Do Actions Speak Louder than Motives? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Image-Fundraising" (2021). Economics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.