ABSTRACT:

Following the emergence of high-profile charity comparison websites, donors are increasingly able to evaluate accounting information of several competing charities before they make a donation. Previous literature has primarily examined the effects of accounting information on donations to single charities. This study looks at the giving intentions of individual donors in settings with several charities, where charities directly compete with each other for the individual donation. The study presents an experiment (n = 226) where individuals adjust their donations after studying the program-spending ratios of the charities. The results indicate a flight to extremes—accounting information affects donations to charities at the extreme ends of the shortlist, but charities that are in the middle do not benefit. Threshold information (i.e., information whether each charity meets generally accepted guidelines for program-spending ratios) affects donation adjustments only if this information influences the positions of the charities at the top and bottom of the shortlist.

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