Charities mainly rely on direct mailings to attract the attention of potential donators. Individuals may feel irritated by these mailings, in particular when they receive many mailings. We study the consequences of perceived irritation on stated behavior and on actual behavior. Target selection by charities likely results in good donators receiving many mailings and hence they might also be most irritated. Therefore, irritation with direct mailings might be endogenously determined. To create exogenous variation in irritation, we design a unique controlled field experiment in cooperation with five of the largest charities in the Netherlands. Our analysis reveals that direct mailings do result in irritation, but surprisingly this affects neither stated nor actual donating behavior.

Additional Metadata
Keywords charity donations, direct marketing, field experiment, irritation
JEL Statistical Decision Theory; Operations Research (jel C44), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Marketing (jel M31)
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
van Diepen, M, Donkers, A.C.D, & Franses, Ph.H.B.F. (2008). Does Irritation Induced by Charitable Direct Mailings Reduce Donations? (No. ERS-2008-036-MKT). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from