Direct mailing is the main tool that charities employ for fundraising. With increasing amounts of soliciting mailings and with the best donators receiving more mailings as a result of target selection, irritation might increase. As a result, such irritation could cause individuals to donate less, and hence reduce revenues for charities. We develop a conceptual model, which relates donating behavior to irritation and to mailing frequencies. We consider mailing frequencies relative to a reference point, which we call the maximum acceptance level. Furthermore, we allow for asymmetric effects of positive and negative differences with this maximum acceptance level, and hence we consider the effects of receiving excessive and acceptable amounts of mailings. To test our model empirically, we conduct a survey on charitable direct mailings and donating behavior among 213 respondents. We find that too many mailings do indeed lead to irritation, and that such irritation reduces annual donations.

Additional Metadata
Keywords DM, Direct Mail, Irritation, Junk Mail
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
Persistent URL
Series ERIM Report Series Research in Management
Journal ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
van Diepen, M, Donkers, A.C.D, & Franses, Ph.H.B.F. (2006). Irritation Due to Direct Mailings from Charities (No. ERS-2006-029-MKT). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from