Scenario 1 An organization I have given $200 in the past sends me a solicitation letter. The letter requests gifts of $100, $250, $500 or "some other amount." Since in previous years I've given $200, I probably wouldn't decrease my gift to $100. But because they've asked for $250, I'd probably scrape up some extra money and give at that suggested level. Lesson: set your ask levels in a way that will encourage people to stretch their giving.It is already pretty normal to get solicitation letters that are customized with your name. If there is indeed a psychological mechanism at work that would prompt people to give a little more than last time, but not a lot less, then it would be trivial to customize fundraising letters so that each donor gets recommended donations tailored to their own previous giving.
So f.f.'s letter would have the levels she gives in her example, but since I only gave $40 last time, my copy of the same fundraising letter would have levels of $25, $50, and $100.
Anyway, I'm sure this is already being done. I'll have to pay more attention in the future so I don't get played...it's like when I learned to stop ordering the second most expensive entrée and the second cheapest wine when eating out.