Do charitable donors know enough - And care enough - About government subsidies to affect private giving to nonprofit organizations?

Christopher S. Horne, Janet L. Johnson, David M. Van Slyke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

A large body of research has examined the effect of government subsidies to nonprofit organizations on philanthropy, with the preponderance of evidence suggesting that government funding partially displaces or "crowds out" private giving. Such studies assume that charitable donors are aware of the amount of government funding received by their beneficiary charitable organizations and that they act on this information when determining how much money to donate. This study assesses the validity of these heretofore untested assumptions. After comparing the "best guesses" of survey respondents (N = 675) to the actual amount of government funding received by the charitable organizations to which they have donated money, the assumption of donors' knowledge about government funding is found to be met only very weakly, furthermore, few respondents anticipate changing giving behavior due to government subsidies. These findings suggest the need to explore explanations of crowding out beyond those assumed under current theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005

Keywords

  • Charitable giving
  • Economic assumptions
  • Subsidies
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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