Though some donors boast about their giving, others do not make their giving public. The former behavior is called known giving and the latter is called anonymous giving. Is anonymous giving really a virtue as is generally recognized? Paradoxically, this chapter proves that anonymity is a vice for fundraisers even if it is what donors desire. Existence of anonymous donors can impair others’ incentive to give. In my signaling model, people’s altruism is private information, and unobservable to others. By giving, people signal their hidden altruism to gain good reputation. I assume that people have image motivation in the sense that reputation (social image) yields utility. Practically, fundraisers should control the number of anonymous donors to increase the total amount of giving. Fundraisers often provide “check boxes” on their Web site to make it convenient to donate anonymously. I suggest that fundraisers should remove the check boxes from their Web sites.
Anonymous giving Image motivation Signaling
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