Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Behavioural Insights Team - Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving

In their new report  the UK Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team detail several interventions studies which use techniques from behavioural science to increase charitable donations:

Summary of the intervention studies from the executive summary of the Cabinet Office BIT report 'Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving':

"Trial 1 was conducted with the Zurich Community Trust. It tested the impact of encouraging people to sign up to annual increases in their giving rather than just one-off increases, so that inflation does not erode the value of an individual’s contribution over time. It showed that encouraging people to increase their future donations is a highly effective way of increasing the overall value of support for a charity, by potentially more than £1000 over the course of the donor’s lifetime.

Trial 2 was conducted with Charities Trust and the Home Retail Group. It tested the impact of automatically enrolling individuals on to a scheme which increases donations by 3% a year (with the option to opt out). Following this small change, the proportion of new donors signing up for automatic increases rose to 49%. If instituted across all payroll giving and direct debit schemes, this could raise an additional £40million for charities per year.

Trial 3 was conducted with HMRC and tested whether peer effects might increase the tendency of individuals to join the organisation’s Payroll Giving scheme. Employees were sent messages from colleagues of theirs who were already giving, and some of them received messages with pictures of the existing donors. The pictures were especially effective, doubling the rates of enrolment.

Trial 4 was conducted with Deutsche Bank. It looked at whether behavioural insights could help increase the number of employees willing to give a day of their salary to charity. It showed that personalised emails from the CEO were much more effective than generic at increasing donations. When combined with small gifts they more than tripled charitable donation rates, helping to raise £500,000 in one day.

Trial 5 was conducted with the Co-operative Legal Services and Remember a Charity to see whether charitable giving could be supported through people’s wills. It showed that prompting people to give to charity was an effective way of doubling the number of legacy donors. Using social norm messages trebled uptake rates, and also led to larger donations."

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