Giving is Caring: Understanding donation behavior through email

Yelena Mejova, Ingmar Weber, Venkata Rama Kiran Garimella, Michael C. Dougal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Every day, thousands of people make donations to humanitarian, political, environmental, and other causes, a large amount of which occur on the Internet. The solicitations for support, the acknowledgment of a donation and the discussion of corresponding issues are often conducted via email, leaving a record of these social phenomena. In this paper, we describe a comprehensive large-scale data-driven study of donation behavior. We analyze a two-month anonymized email log from several perspectives motivated by past studies on charitable giving: (i) demographics, (ii) user interest, (iii) external timerelated factors and (iv) social network influence. We show that email captures the demographic peculiarities of different interest groups, for instance, predicting demographic distributions found in US 2012 Presidential Election exit polls. Furthermore, we find that people respond to major national events, as well as to solicitations with special promotions, and that social connections are the most important factor in predicting donation behavior. Specifically, we identify trends not only for individual charities and campaigns, but also for high-level categories such as political campaigns, medical illnesses, and humanitarian relief. Thus, we show the extent to which large-scale email datasets reveal human donation behavior, and explore the limitations of such analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCSCW 2014 - Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1297-1307
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450325400
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Event17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: 15 Feb 201419 Feb 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW

Other

Other17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2014
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD
Period15/2/1419/2/14

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Keywords

  • Charities
  • Donations
  • Email
  • Social factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

Cite this

Mejova, Y., Weber, I., Garimella, V. R. K., & Dougal, M. C. (2014). Giving is Caring: Understanding donation behavior through email. In CSCW 2014 - Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 1297-1307). (Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2531602.2531611