In keeping with our theme of giving, we want to share an experiment exploring fundraising behavior
We consider global poverty to be a solvable problem. The total funding given for international development and poverty reduction each year is much greater than the extreme poverty gap. So why does it persist? It is likely due to the fact that many of the resources for economic development are not focused on today's problems, but investing in solutions that might reduce poverty in the future. This approach assumes that donors see short and long-run poverty as the same problem, and are willing to contribute only a fixed amount to solve the overarching problem of poverty. This may be a reasonable approach, it however overlooks the fact that the people who will not be poor due to long-term investment are different to those who might die poor in the meantime.
As such, we set out to test whether donors would donate more if given the opportunity to contribute to both short and long-term poverty reduction, than they would if given the opportunity to contribute solely to long-term poverty reduction.
People were told that they had $1 to give to charity. Thirty percent of any amount they did not give to charity would go to them — so while they had an incentive to give, their giving choices also cost them money, exactly like the real world.
Respondents were randomized into a group given a choice to give to a single charity focused on health (reducing malaria in the developing world), or a group given the choice to give to a single charity as well as send money directly to people living on less than $2 a day in Kenya.