Charities rely mainly on direct mailings to attract the attention of potential donors. Individuals may feel irritated by these mailings, in particular when they receive many mailings. This might harm the revenues charities receive from their mailing activities. Moreover, target selection by charities likely results in many mailings being sent to the best donors, and hence they might become most irritated. As such, irritation with direct mailings could well be endogenously determined. To ensure exogenous variation in irritation, we performed 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 irritation affects neither stated nor actual donating behavior.

Additional Metadata
Keywords charity donations, direct marketing, field experiment, irritation
JEL Truncated and Censored Models (jel C34), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Marketing (jel M31)
Persistent URL,
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles , Econometric Institute Reprint Series
Journal International Journal of Research in Marketing
van Diepen, M, & Donkers, A.C.D. (2009). Does irritation induced by charitable direct mailings reduce donations?. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(3), 180–188. doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2009.03.007