Does online salience predict charitable giving? Evidence from SMS text donations

Carlo Perroni, Kimberley Scharf*, Oleksandr Talavera, Linh Vi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the link between online salience and charitable donations. Using a unique dataset on phone text donations that includes detailed information on the timing of cash gifts to charities, we link donations to time variation in online searches for words that appear in those charities’ mission statements. The results suggest that an increase in the online salience of the activities pursued by different charities affects the number and volume of donations made to those charities and to charities that pursue different goals. We uncover evidence of positive “own-salience” effects and negative “cross-salience” effects on donations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-149
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Early online date18 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, Elsevier B.V. This accepted manuscript version is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License [].


  • Charitable donations
  • News shocks
  • Online search


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