May 1, 2011

Can Tailored Communications Motivate Volunteers?

A Field Experiment
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Volunteering is a significant component of economic activity, especially for environmental organizations. Environmental organizations that rely on volunteers communicate with them using a variety of media, such as newsletters. This is a field experiment investigating whether tailoring the content of these communications to the stated motivations of a volunteer has a positive effect on the number of hours he/she volunteers. For the non-profit in our study, we find that such tailoring has an effect only for volunteers motivated primarily by career concerns. We also find this to be robust to the volunteers being aware that the tailoring is occurring.

Read the article at American Economic Review.