Eliciting Donor Preferences

Most charity organizations depend on contributions from the general public, but little research is conducted on donor preferences. Do donors have geographical, recipient, or thematic preferences? We designed a conjoint analysis experiment in which people rated development aid projects by donating money in dictator games. We find that our sample show strong age, gender, regional, and thematic preferences. Furthermore, we find significant differences between segments. The differences in donations are consistent with differences in donors' attitudes toward development aid and their beliefs about differences in poverty and vulnerability of the recipients. The method here used for development projects can easily be adapted to elicit preferences for other kinds of projects that rely on gifts from private donors.