The use of directed giving – allowing donors to target their gifts to specific organizations or functions – is pervasive in fundraising, yet little is known about its effectiveness. We conduct a field experiment at a public university in which prospective donors are presented with either an opportunity to donate to the unrestricted Annual Fund, or an opportunity of donating to the Annual Fund and directing some or all of their donation towards the academic college from which they graduated. While there is no effect on the probability of giving, donations are significantly larger when there is the option of directing. However, the value of the option does not come directly from use, as very few donors choose to direct their gift.
Eckel, C. C., Herberich, D. H., & Meer, J. (2017). A field experiment on directed giving at a public university. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics , 66, 66–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2016.04.007