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Using Behavioral Economics to increase charitable giving through phone calls.
Last registered on April 24, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Using Behavioral Economics to increase charitable giving through phone calls.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002174
Initial registration date
April 21, 2017
Last updated
April 24, 2017 10:28 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Universidad de los Andes
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-11-21
End date
2017-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We study the effectiveness of different verbal nudges in charitable donations. We partnered with the largest charity in Chile, who routinely communicate with their donors through their own call center. We designed several scripts using nudges that build on behavioral economics' findings. We test how each script affects (a) donations and (b) their willingness to change their current donation to an inflation indexed currency.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Macera, Rosario and María Cristina Riquelme. 2017. "Using Behavioral Economics to increase charitable giving through phone calls.." AEA RCT Registry. April 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2174-1.0.
Former Citation
Macera, Rosario and María Cristina Riquelme. 2017. "Using Behavioral Economics to increase charitable giving through phone calls.." AEA RCT Registry. April 24. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2174/history/16837.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We study the effectiveness of different verbal nudges in charitable donations. We partnered with the largest charity in Chile, who routinely communicates with their donors through their own call center. We designed various scripts following behavioral economics' findings to optimize the calls made by the executives. Each call makes two requests to donors: to increase their level of donations and get them to change their current donation to an inflation indexed currency.

The charity provided us with a data of 30.000 phone numbers, which we stratified and randomly assigned to one of the following six scripts: (1) a "neutral" script that (mostly) replicates the standard language used in the call center [the control script]; (2) a script that varies the order of the requests (increase donation versus request to index their donation); (3) a script that makes the donation tangible by providing a example of the potential use of the donation; (4) a script in which switching to an inflation indexed donation is the default; (5) a script that makes reference to the behaviour of other donors; and (6) a script that builds a relation between the executive and the donor before making the requests.
Intervention Start Date
2016-11-21
Intervention End Date
2016-12-16
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Results of each call/transaction: subjective data on the quality of the call, donated amount, status of requested change to inflation indexed currency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Subjective data on the quality of the call corresponds to evaluations made by independent evaluators. Evaluators answered a detailed survey about several aspects of the call such as the subjective performance of the executive (speed, clarity, confidence) and her objective performance (whether she followed the script or not).
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The charity provided us access to a sub-group of its donors who had not been contacted in at least six months (30,000 people), and we reached 10,000-13,000 of them by phone calls. The phone calls were made by charity's own call center.

Donors were randomly assigned to each script using a different behavioral nudge. The random assignment was at the strata level, were donors were stratified into 294 groups according to the city they live in, their donation level, age and gender. All scripts were implemented by all call-center executives, while each donor-script pair was randomly assigned to each executive using the standard procedures used in the call center to assign call to executives.

The scripts were as follows. (1) a "neutral" script that (mostly) replicates the standard language used in the call center was used as the control script; (2) a script that varies the order of the requests (increase donation versus request to index their donation); (3) a script that makes the donation tangible by providing a example of the potential use of the donation; (4) a script in which switching to an inflation indexed donation is the default; (5) a script that makes reference to the behaviour of other donors; and (6) a script that builds a relation between the executive and the donor before making the requests.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer using the 30.000 donors data base provided by the charity.
Randomization Unit
Donor level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
We stratified our 30.000 donors into 294 clusters according to the city they live in, their donation level, age and gender.
Sample size: planned number of observations
30.000 donors, of whom around 10.000 - 15.000 were actually contacted by phone.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Our 30.000 donors were equally divided into the six scripts. Therefore, each treatment has 5.000 potential donors.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
IRB Approval Date
2016-06-08
IRB Approval Number
160220002
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers