Suggested donation £5 / Howard Lake

December 11, 2016; Wall Street Journal

A recent study from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business looked into what effect “suggested amounts” have on levels of giving. What they found is excruciatingly commonsensical: If suggested amounts are set too high, one gets fewer but higher-dollar-amount gifts; if the amounts are set lower, the gifts are greater in number but less in value. Neither approach is certain to raise more in overall donations than might otherwise have been expected. Rather, you should use what seems to fit the campaign.

So, there you go.

The study’s authors were Oleg Urminsky, an associate professor of marketing, and Indranil Goswami, then a doctoral candidate at Booth and now an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Management. They engaged more than 11,500 people, and the report that flowed from it was published in the October issue of the Journal of Marketing Research. Here is Dr. Urminsky, explaining it all:

There are two different psychological effects happening sim