'Why Online Giving Works' Elizabeth Kessick, JustGiving


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Why Online Giving Works
Over the past 10 years, online fundraising, through sites like JustGiving.com has transformed the charity industry. In this talk, we'll take a look at the psychological reasons why online giving is so compelling: and also explore a few of the differences between what we say about supporting charities, and what we actually do.
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  • Going to talk about StorytellingPsychology And a bit of social media and mobile
  • FASTI started in 2001 – been there since the beginning. Examples: Charlie Simpson raised over £200,000fish slapping, LeJog, Race for LifeWe’ve done this – it’s very rewarding. And we are the original and best online fundraising platform – the largest community of givers in the world£1 billion is amount raised in the UKWe’re a small company – 70 of us here in the UK, and less than 20 in the US, so even though you may have heard of our brand we’ve not got a big budget for marketing and comms – though content has been hugely important to use – and hopefully I’ll be able to give you a sense of how content has shaped our business – and indeed grown charity giving throughout the last 10 years...
  • FASTJustGiving was launched we didn’t quite know what it should beWe’d developed a great bit of technology to automatically reclaim Gift Aid from the Government to give to charitiesThe challenge was how to utilize thatWe knew we always wanted to be a B 2 C company
  • - we experimented until we found what really worked: which is letting people tell stories about why causes are important to themWe did a bit of experimenting. One of our experiments was the first fundraising page. Here’s Peter Flynn, and how he told his friends and family why they should sponsor him. He raised over £10,000 – he’s done a much better job of articulating why he supports the NAS than we could ever do: and it’s tailored exactly for his friends and family The next year, on the back of this one page, we were able to get a partnership with the London Marathon.
  • Charities understand this principle toousing it more and moreThis has been proved by sociologists as “the identifiable victim effect” “When we can’t see the small details, suffering is less vivid, less emotional, and we fell less compelled to act” – more Ariely (Predicably irrational, the upside of irrationality, behavioural economist at Duke in NC) Ariely uses this example: job interview, new suit costing £800 – on the way to the interview cross a river, girl cries for help, seems to be drowning. What would you do? Dive in of course and save her. This is due to 3 psychological factors – proximity, vividness, and the drop-in-the-bucket effect proximity – closeness, not just physical nearness – also covers a feeling of kinship – close to people with whom you share similarities. This effect is powerful – give to needy neighbour who has lost job, rather than homeless person on other side of townVividness – descriptiveness – imagining the same thing happening to you. Alistair example good at explaining what will happen to himDrop in the bucket (which is to say that people don’t want their money to be a drop in the bucket – they want it to have real value) – people want to be able to single handedly and completely help the victims of a tragedy – when it’s an uphill battle (that, say, wateraid have to fight) we think how can we help? It’s the small details about Alistair’s struggle here which makes his plight vivid…
  • FASTExample page – liz smith Charity: global vision international charity trustWorking to fund education for indigenous people in the AmazonChallenge is trekking and kayaking from GVI base came to an indigenous community over 5 days Describes the challenge and why she’s doing it
  • For most people it’s about responding to a friend’s ask – not this mass movement (which happens occasionally) And, I think, it’s one of the prime motivators for someone to make a donation to a charity that they don’t necessarily care about – they just want to do a favour for a friend/colleague/family member, which consolidates that friendship tie. What’s going on when someone asks a friend to sponsor thenIt’s more about what’s not being saidNice feeling being valued enough to be askedThe public nature of seeing comments on a page makes it easy to see who has not donated, and to see who’s donated what. In fact, public donation amounts have an interesting effect. There is a fear the friendship will be eroded if the sponsor does not react
  • Ben Franklin wanted to gain the cooperation of a difficult member of the Pennsylvania state legislature. Rather than spending his time sucking up to this guy, he decided on a different course of actionFranklin knew that the legislator had a copy of a rare book, and Franklin asked to borrow it. The man agreed and their relations went from frosty to civil. We like people more when they’ve asked us for a small favour. We instinctively like to help. And this phenomenon was proved again in the 1960s with a psychology experiment – experimenters made it so that participants won some money – at the end of this the main researcher came up and said that he had used his own money for the experiment and was running short on cash – would he mind returning the money. They also used a control group whereby the same thing happened but it was the department secretary asking for the money back on behalf of the department. Sure enough the people who were asked for the money by the researcher (‘his own funds’) liked the researcher more than the ones who were asked for the money on behalf of the department.
  • So all this interesting usercreated content can have a life that extends beyond the initial storytelling and response comment – social media helps people ask for donations, and also amplifies donations – allowing people to extend their ‘warm glow’ about donating/making a page Now we’ve noticed that social networks are very popular mediums for people to make that initial donation ask but social networks have this added edge – when people transact through a social network, we give them the ability to publicise what they’ve done via those networks. And this brings in more donations... 5% of donations that start with FB come this way, 9% of donations on twitter, 5% of donations thru linked in: over £1 million raised so far Nigel Doughty is from nottingham forest football clubAlso talk about pledge + publicity campaign
  • Research led by Sarah Smith at the university of BristolAnalysed fundraising pages for the 2010 London marathon for Us and another website Large donations = twice the page mean (so if average donation is £20, £40 is large donation)Small donations = half the page mean (so if average donation is £20, £10 is small donation) Example here: someone makes a donation of £100, and it bumps up the donations afterwards on average by £10. And now that that the donations after are £10 higher, this has the knock-on effect of adding £3.50 to average donations down the line This effect is bigger for male donors than female donors The inverse effect also happens – small donations lead to more small donationsAnd the larger the big donation, the stronger effect it will have Does not influence the number of donations: a large donation does not act as a deterrant
  • Everything I’ve described came into play on a grand and movingscale last week: lots of newspaper columnists etc. have been trying to explain why this phenomenon happened. As a response, I think some of the things I’ve described today come into play: How people responding to sadness around Claire’s death Proximity – easy to imagine claire: nice attractive girl, profession that we all understand, living in the heartlandVividness – too easy to imagine her collapsing at the last mile of the marathon with all the runners etcNetwork effect: once people had started supporting this page, they shared about it and also told Claire’s story: and then others crowded in: donating to the page makes you feel like a good person who has helped make something meaningful come out of a tragedy: and you wanted to show that you’ve done this this to your community as well Signalling: even though this is a page where it’s someone you don’t’ know, and that you don’t know the others donating to the page, the median donation has been a consistent £10, with £11 as the average across all 75,000+ donations. So the donation amounts were ‘set’ by the early donors – and people have been trying to tacitly match this all along, despite the donors not knowing each other, or Claire, or even being in the same country I’m sure you’ll agree that this phenomenon was a moving tribute to the tragic death of a young person and wouldn’t have happened offline: it’s a illustration of how online giving compounds and enhances our existing psychological drives to give: on a larger and more public scale
  • Any questions?
  • 'Why Online Giving Works' Elizabeth Kessick, JustGiving

    1. 1. Why online giving worksElizabeth KessickHead of Insight, JustGiving.com
    2. 2. About JustGiving Over 13m users over Over £1billion 8,000 raised charities
    3. 3. The early days We thought the content we created was the answer
    4. 4. People asking on behalf of an organisation works.... “Any short term discomfort I may suffer running and training for the 26.2 miles is nothing to the private frustrations and agonies of an autistic child trying to comprehend a world that is utterly alien to them, or the dedication and sheer graft of the parents and carers of those affected with this condition...”
    5. 5. And if you’re asking on behalf of anorganisation tell a story about a person “Once we have a face, a picture, and details about a person, we feel for them, and our actions – and money – follow.” - Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational Proximity Vividness Drop in the bucket
    6. 6. Fundraising on JustGiving
    7. 7. Social obligation is a great motivator • I value our relationship and I hope you do too • He values me as a friend •I want you to know that I‟m a good person •I like him because he‟s asked me •I want you to like me • I bet he‟s asking my friends. • This is embarrassing • If I don‟t it‟ll be embarrassing • What if you say no? • The longer I leave it the worse it‟ll be
    8. 8. The Franklin effect “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” - Benjamin Franklin “To encourage others to like you, ask for their help.” - Professor Richard Wiseman
    9. 9. Making it public
    10. 10. What we say is not the same as what we do Only 2.7% of people identified However after a large “How much other people have donation, the following given to the fundraiser” as a very donations increase 100 important factor in deciding how much to give and this increase leads to a mean of amount knock on „signalling‟ effect of even higher donations throughout 50 0 -10-9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1011121314151617181920
    11. 11. Claire’s page • Proximity • Vividness • The network effect • Signalling
    12. 12. Thank you Elizabeth Kessick elizabeth@justgiving.com @Izabel_blue