Giving Suggestions: Using Quantity Requests to Increase Donations

54 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 28 Apr 2021

See all articles by Alice Moon

Alice Moon

The Wharton School

Eric VanEpps

University of Utah - Department of Marketing

Date Written: February 13, 2020


Across six studies (N = 7,822), we provide evidence that quantity requests, wherein people consider ordinal choice options of how much to give to a prosocial cause (e.g., $5, $10, or $15), increase contributions compared to binary (yes/no) requests. Specifically, quantity requests encourage greater donations (Study 1), even for quantity requests starting with low (e.g., $1) or high (e.g., $10) suggested donation options (Study 2). Quantity requests also outperform other requests with multiple donation options (e.g., multiple options of when to donate or to which charity branch to donate; Study 3), suggesting that multiple options alone are insufficient to increase donations. We propose that quantity requests: (a) focus donation decisions on how much (rather than whether) to give (Study 4), and (b) communicate normative donation magnitudes (Study 5). In doing so, quantity requests increase donation rates and, ultimately, total donations. Finally, we offer one way to transform non-quantity requests to be more effective: Adding a numeric scale alongside choice options focuses potential donors on the question of how much to give, thereby increasing contributions for this transformed request (Study 6). Our findings offer a practical nudge for promoting prosocial action and a theoretical framework of why quantity requests increase donations.

Keywords: charitable giving, prosocial behavior, framing effects, quantity requests, donation requests, donation rates

Suggested Citation

Moon, Alice and VanEpps, Eric, Giving Suggestions: Using Quantity Requests to Increase Donations (February 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Alice Moon (Contact Author)

The Wharton School ( email )

Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Eric VanEpps

University of Utah - Department of Marketing ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9304
United States

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