Charities and Nudge

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Some research indicates “every penny counts” might lead to more donations, with no drop in donation amount

One of the things I have vague interest in is behavioural economics, largely because I wrote my undergrad dissertation on the ultimatum game. Since that time, behavioural economics has become perhaps best known (or recognised) under the label ‘nudge’. I have various things to say about this (many of them not terribly positive) but I was wondering recently whether people had done much around charities and nudge. A (terrible lit review method) search for “nudge+charities” gives me lots of result-repetition after page 5, so I had a browse through the key things there.

Some interesting discussion about whether charitable giving is emotional, while philanthropic is not – explaining why showing donors impact measures seems not to change their behaviour much, and what kinds of (nudge based) experiments could be conducted around that.

With a nice summary of a behavioural insights team (or nudge unit) report discussing 5 ways to increase fundraising, and another site giving examples of web-design to implement some nudge strategies. But while the nudge unit report has some interesting behavioural insights it’s basically entirely focussed on financial giving – which I’m not terribly interested in. There’s a promisingly titled piece on nudging people towards green, although not much in it – and in any case, that’s more about nudging people towards your direct goals, rather than to volunteer time.

So, I wonder about how organisations are dealing with that, how do they nudge to onboard volunteers, to help them sustain their volunteering (and volunteer their full expertise), and so on…

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