Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2013

Non-Standard Matches and Charitable Giving

by Michael Sanders, Sarah Smith and Michael I. Norton


Many organisations, including corporations and governments, wish to encourage charitable giving, and offer incentives for their employees, customers and citizens to do so. The most common of these incentives is a match rate, where the organisation agrees to pay, for example, $1 for every $1 donated. However, these incentives may not be efficient. In this short article we suggest alternative ways of matching that existing theory and data suggest might be more effective at encouraging donations. These include non-linear matching, social (and team) matching, and lottery matching—each of which novel schemes could be tested empirically against a standard match incentive.

Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Organizational Culture; Giving and Philanthropy;


Sanders, Michael, Sarah Smith, and Michael I. Norton. "Non-Standard Matches and Charitable Giving." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-094, May 2013.