Applying behaviouralinsights to charitablegivingBehavioural Insights Team
The trials in this paper have been devised, led and delivered byMichael Sanders, a member of the Behavioural Insights Team...
ContentsForewordExecutive SummaryPart I: Four Behavioural InsightsPart II: Five Behavioural TrialsReferences4581424
4 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission fr...
5© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThe first part of thi...
6 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission fr...
7© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamemails at increasing ...
8 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission fr...
9© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamby automating the pro...
10 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
11© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamInsight 3: Focus on ...
12 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
13© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teammore effective than ...
14 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
15© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teampresented differed, ...
16 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
17© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThe crucial point he...
18 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
19© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teammight influence a ne...
20 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
21© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamBut by far the most ...
22 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
23© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThis clearly shows t...
24 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission f...
25© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamwww.informationisbea...
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Charitable giving

  1. 1. Applying behaviouralinsights to charitablegivingBehavioural Insights Team
  2. 2. The trials in this paper have been devised, led and delivered byMichael Sanders, a member of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT),and a former BIT Research Fellow from the University of Bristol.We would like to thank those organisations who have partneredwith us in the production of this report. In particular, we would liketo thank the Charities Aid Foundation, which has supported theresearch on the application of behavioural science to payrollgiving. We would also like to thank Rob Cope (Remember aCharity), Hannah Terry, Rhodri Davies and Richard Harrison(Charities Aid Foundation), Harriet Stephens (HMRC), CeriWootton (Home Retail Group), Jason Doherty (Charities Trust),Amy Parker and Sabira Rouf (Deutsche Bank), and Steve Grimmett(Zurich). We are also grateful to Rachael Hogg and Alex Tupper forexcellent research assistance.Acknowledgements
  3. 3. ContentsForewordExecutive SummaryPart I: Four Behavioural InsightsPart II: Five Behavioural TrialsReferences4581424
  4. 4. 4 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThe UK is a generous country, home tosome of the world’s greatestphilanthropists, to some 150,000charities, and to a public that donated£11.7billion1to charitable causes in2011.This paper celebrates the generosity ofthe UK public, and explores new andinnovative ways of increasing charitablegiving further.It also recognises the important indirectbenefits of charitable giving that recentbehavioural research has begun toexplore.This research shows that giving bothtime and money has large benefits forthe wellbeing of the giver as well as thereceiver.Experiments have shown, for example,that individuals are happier when giventhe opportunity to spend money onothers than themselves.2Similarly, volunteering is associatedwith increased life satisfaction – notonly among volunteers, but in thecommunity around them.3CharitableGiving is good for donors, forbeneficiaries, and for society at large.In celebrating charitable giving, thispaper takes a very practical approachthat is grounded in the rigorousanalytical methods used by theBehavioural Insights Team.This involves both understanding whatthe behavioural science literaturesuggests ‘works’ in relation toincreasing charitable giving, and thentesting and trialling these insights inpractice through the use of randomisedcontrolled trials.4The results from these trials show howsmall changes can help charities andgivers to support good causes.Michael Sanders, David Halpern &Owain ServiceThe Behavioural Insights TeamForeword
  5. 5. 5© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThe first part of this paper describesfour behavioural insights found in theacademic literature on giving andaltruism and shows how they might beused to support charitable giving. Thesecond part sets out the results fromfive randomised controlled trialsconducted by the Behavioural InsightsTeam that show how effective theapplication of these insights can be inpractice.Part I: Four BehaviouralInsightsInsight 1 is to ‘make it easy’. One of thebest ways of encouraging people to giveis to make it easy for people to do so.Making it easy can include:Giving people the option to increasetheir future payments to preventdonations being eroded by inflationSetting defaults that automaticallyenrol new senior staff into givingschemes (with a clear option todecline)Using prompted choice to encouragepeople to become charitable donorsInsight 2 is to ‘attract attention’. Makingcharitable giving more attractive to anindividual can be a powerful way ofincreasing donations. This can include:Attracting individual’s attention, forexample by using personalisedmessagesRewarding the behaviour you seek toencourage, for example throughmatched funding schemesEncouraging reciprocity with smallgiftsInsight 3 is to ‘focus on the social’. Weare all influenced by the actions ofthose around us, which means we aremore likely to give to charity if we see itas the social ‘norm’. Focusing on thesocial involves thinking about:Using prominent individuals to sendout strong social signalsDrawing on peer effects, by makingacts of giving more visible to otherswithin one’s social groupEstablishing group norms aroundwhich subsequent donors ‘anchor’their own giftsExecutive Summary
  6. 6. 6 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamInsight 4 is that ‘timing matters’. If youget your timing right, it can really helpto increase charitable donations. Thismight include:Ensuring that charitable appeals aremade at the moments when they arelikely to be most effective - forexample people are more likely tomake a donation in December thanJanuaryUnderstanding that people may bemore willing to commit to future(increases in) donations thanequivalent sums todayPart II: Five BehaviouralTrialsThis section of the paper describes thework the Behavioural Insights Team hasundertaken with a wide range of largeorganisations and charities in the UK totest these insights in practice throughfive randomised controlled trials. Thesetest the new interventions against thepractices that were used before,demonstrating the impact of theintervention.Trial 1 was conducted with the ZurichCommunity Trust. It tested the impactof encouraging people to sign up toannual increases in their giving ratherthan just one-off increases, so thatinflation does not erode the value of anindividual’s contribution over time. Itshowed that encouraging people toincrease their future donations is ahighly effective way of increasing theoverall value of support for a charity, bypotentially more than £1000 over thecourse of the donor’s lifetime.Trial 2 was conducted with CharitiesTrust and the Home Retail Group. Ittested the impact of automaticallyenrolling individuals on to a schemewhich increases donations by 3% a year(with the option to opt out). Followingthis small change, the proportion ofnew donors signing up for automaticincreases rose to 49%. If institutedacross all payroll giving and direct debitschemes, this could raise an additional£40million for charities per year.Trial 3 was conducted with HMRC andtested whether peer effects mightincrease the tendency of individuals tojoin the organisation’s Payroll Givingscheme. Employees were sentmessages from colleagues of theirs whowere already giving, and some of themreceived messages with pictures of theexisting donors. The pictures wereespecially effective, doubling the ratesof enrolment.Trial 4 was conducted with DeutscheBank. It looked at whether behaviouralinsights could help increase the numberof employees willing to give a day oftheir salary to charity. It showed thatpersonalised emails from the CEO weremuch more effective than generic
  7. 7. 7© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamemails at increasing donations. Whencombined with small gifts they morethan tripled charitable donation rates,helping to raise £500,000 in one day.Trial 5 was conducted with the Co-operative Legal Services and Remembera Charity to see whether charitablegiving could be supported throughpeople’s wills. It showed that promptingpeople to give to charity was aneffective way of doubling the number oflegacy donors. Using social normmessages trebled uptake rates, and alsoled to larger donations.
  8. 8. 8 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamPart I of this paper describes thebehavioural effects found in theacademic literature on giving andaltruism. These insights suggest thatrelatively small variations in the way inwhich people are asked to donate, or toincrease their regular donations, canmake large differences to the amountsof money donated to charity.Insight 1: Make it easyOne of the best ways to encouragepeople to give is to make donatingeasy for them. Making it easy caninclude:- Giving people the option to increasetheir future payments to preventdonations being eroded by inflation- Setting defaults that automaticallyenrol new senior staff into givingschemes (with a clear option todecline)- Using prompted choice to encouragepeople to become charitable donorsOne of the most important lessons fromthe behavioural science literature isthat if you want to encourage someoneto do something, you should make it aseasy as possible for them to do so.One of the drawbacks of Payroll Givingschemes is that the value of a monthlycontribution is often fixed in absoluteterms. With the average payroll giverstaying in the scheme for 7 years,inflation can have a considerable impacton donation levels. For example, a £10donation begun in 2005 would beworth just £7.50 today.One solution to this problem is to allownew donors to sign up to increase theirdonations automatically every year by acertain percentage, while retainingclear prompted choice for entry. This isa good example of how to ‘make iteasy’ for individuals by reducing theneed for future action. Trial 1 in Part IIof this paper shows that automaticescalation is at least as popular asstandard escalation among donors, andcan work well at helping donations keeppace with inflation.Perhaps the most effective way ofmaking something easy is by removingthe need for an individual to act at all,Part I: Four BehaviouralInsights
  9. 9. 9© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamby automating the process. Some UScompanies, for example, automaticallyenrol senior members of staff onto theirpayroll giving schemes, giving peoplethe choice to ‘opt out’ rather than ‘optin’. Switching the default to an ‘opt out’system, with a clear option to decline, isan effective way of enhancingdonations, as demonstrated by theresults of Trial 2 in Part II of this paper. This shows the power of defaults forsmall increases in donations.Where it is not possible or appropriateto automatically enrol individuals into agiving scheme, an alternative option isto use ‘prompted choice’. In thisscenario individuals are explicitly askedif they want to join a scheme, in whichthey will then stay until they decide towithdraw. This is how Payroll Givingschemes in the UK work. Trial 5 showsthat simply prompting people at theright time can be very effective atencouraging people to leave money tocharities in their wills.Insight 2:Attract attentionMaking charitable giving moreattractive to an individual can be apowerful way of increasing donations.This can include:- Attracting an individual’s attention,for example by using personalisedmessages- Rewarding the behaviour you seek toencourage, for example throughmatched funding schemes- Encouraging reciprocity with smallgiftsAttracting attention is about engagingsomeone’s interest and encouraging theactivity that you are seeking tomotivate through rewards of one kindor another.One starting point is to usepersonalised appeals to encourageengagement with a campaign. Researchconsistently shows that personalisedappeals are more effective than moregeneric messages.5Trial 4 in Part II ofthis paper demonstrates this effect.Similarly, communicating the impact ofa good cause on individualbeneficiaries, rather than in totalimpact terms, can be highly effective.For example, George Loewenstein andcolleagues6,7find firstly thatcommunicating the work of a charity in
  10. 10. 10 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamterms of the total number of affectedindividuals was around a third less($2.34 vs $1.45) effective at elicitingdonations as communicating that samework in terms of the struggle of anindividual child. Trial 4 in this papershows how pictures of identifiableexisting donors making appeals to theircolleagues can have similar effects.One way to make giving more attractiveis to offer a salient, non-financialincentive. For example, Cotterill, Johnand Richardson8find that offering topublicise the names of everyone whodonates a book to the local libraryincreases donations compared with notoffering that incentive. The ZurichCommunity Trust also offer a lottery towin a small prize for everyone whomakes a donation, which adds both anincentive and a fun element to theirapproach.An effective way of rewarding giving onan ongoing basis is for employers tooffer some kind of matched donations –for example donating £1 for every £2donated by employees. Matches can bea good way of increasing the value ofmoney going to a charity. However, itshould also be acknowledged thatmatched-funding is not always the mostefficient way for an organisation tomaximise donations. One study, forexample, found that simply announcinga large initial donation was moreeffective at raising funds than matchingup to the amount of an individual’sdonation.9Some other studies find thatmatches at least partially crowd outindividuals’ donations,10suggesting thatdonors care about how much moneygoes to the charity in total, and notentirely about their own contribution,although the evidence is mixed.Alternatives to standard matchingmight make donations to charitythrough an employer more attractive,and could overcome the problem ofcrowding out. Examples include: non-linear matching, where matchesincrease the more a person chooses todonate, or the more people in the firmare donating; or lottery matches, whereone person’s chosen charity is selectedto receive the entire match pot for agiven month.11Research has consistently shown thatpeople exhibit a strong gift exchangemotive – that when someone givessomething to an individual, they feel adesire to give something back. In thecase of charitable giving, this meansthat small gifts to donors can encouragemore people to donate, particularly ifthe gift is seen as a ‘thank you’ ratherthan as something of a particular valuethat needs to be reciprocated to thesame level. Trial 4, in Part II, shows justhow powerful this can be – particularlywhen combined with personalisedappeals to individuals.
  11. 11. 11© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamInsight 3: Focus on the socialWe are all influenced by the actions ofthose around us, which means we aremore likely to give to charity if we seeit as the social ‘norm’. Focusing on thesocial involves thinking about:- Using prominent individuals to sendout strong social signals- Drawing on peer effects, by makingacts of giving more visible to otherswithin one’s social group- Establishing group norms aroundwhich subsequent donors ‘anchor’their own giftsPeople are strongly influenced by theactions of those around them. We dowhat we see other people doing, andwe are influenced by the decisions thatother people take. The behaviouralscience literature is full of examplesthat demonstrate how these ‘socialnorms’ influence individuals’ behaviour.The specific research around charitablegiving suggests that there are manydifferent ways in which social influencecan be brought to bear.The impact an individual can have bysending strong signals to a particulargroup or community is one form ofinfluence. For example, experimentsconducted by Wikipedia showed that amessage from the site’s founder, JimmyWales, was more likely to encourage adonation than similar messages notattributed to Wales.12Similarly, bigphilanthropists, such as Brooke Astor,Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, can sendpowerful signals about which causesare most worthy and encourage othersto donate to charities they support. Thismay be because people aspire to bemore like these prominent figures,13orbecause they believe that they makegood decisions about charities.14Another form of social influence, whichis of particular interest for thosewishing to establish more habitualisedgiving practices within organisations, ispeer effects. Individuals are more likelyto donate to charity if they see othersaround them doing so. The more similarthese people feel they are, the strongerthe peer effect. Research has shown,for example, that people assigned toworkplace fundraising campaign teamswith more people who already give aresignificantly more likely to givethemselves.15When asked to donate totheir university’s alumni fund by aformer college roommate, alumni aremore likely to do so than if asked by astranger.16Similar effects were found inTrial 5, in Part II of this paper. This trialexamines the effect of a simple socialnorm message on take-up of legacygiving (in this case, telling people thatmany people who write wills leavemoney to charity).
  12. 12. 12 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamKnowing the amount that other peopledonate can also be effective. Forexample, one study found that whendonation amounts are revealed todonors, they quickly conform to thegroup norm.17A single, visible donationof around £60 or more on websites thathelp people raise money for charity willencourage others to give more thanthey might have done in the absence ofsuch an anchor.18Other research has supported thisfinding. However, it is important torecognise that the level at which the‘anchor’ is set is critical to achieving apositive impact. This was demonstratedin a study in which visitors to a CostaRican national park were asked to makedonations. It found that when peoplewere told about previous, highdonations ($10), they increased theirdonations, but that when theinformation was about a low donation($2), their donation decreasedsignificantly.19Insight 4:Timing mattersIf you get your timing right, it canreally help to increase charitabledonations, for example by:- Ensuring that charitable appeals aremade at the moments when they arelikely to be most effective;- Understanding that people may bemore willing to commit to future(increases in) donations thanequivalent sums todayOne particularly interesting insight fromthe behavioural science literaturerelates to the impact that time hasupon people’s decision making. It isuseful to think about timing both fromthe perspective of when to asksomeone to give money to charity andwhether it is possible and desirable todefer costs or bring forward a benefit toencourage stronger engagement.Many studies have shown theimportance of recognising moments ofopportunity to support behaviouralchange. This might include, forexample, when someone changes job,or moves house. This is the momentwhen an individual is already makingimportant procedural changes, forexample providing bank account detailsand signing new contracts. Targetingthese moments when setting up newPayroll Giving schemes is likely to be
  13. 13. 13© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teammore effective than asking someone tojoin a programme in the middle of theiremployment contract.There will be similar moments ofopportunity in relation to any charitablegiving campaign. Trial 5, for example,which seeks to increase the numbers ofthose giving money in their wills, linksthe appeal to the point at which anindividual is writing their will.People value the future less than theyvalue the present, and so may takedecisions which favour their presentselves over their future selves. Whilethis can sometimes be in their bestinterest, often it is not.For example, hyperbolic discounting isan extreme form of this ‘discounting’the future, where the next period(tomorrow, next year), is discountedvery heavily. This leads toprocrastination, where we put off smallactivities until tomorrow which costlittle effort now but whose benefits inthe long run are large.  We see thismost commonly in behaviours such aspeople’s failure to save for retirement,quit smoking or avoid tempting butunhealthy foods.When people procrastinate, they oftenbecome trapped in behaviours theywould not choose. In charitable giving,this may lead donors to give the sameamount for long periods, despitechanges in their circumstances andinflation eroding their donation’s value.Making a decision to increase theamount you donate every monththrough payroll giving or direct debitmay be difficult or time consuming, andunless prompted, people may forget todo it. One option to help people wouldbe to allow donors to pre-commit toincreases in their donations when theysign up to give. Trials 1 and 2 in Part IIlook at ways in which this can be putinto practice.People may also wish to increase theirdonations, but may struggle to do soimmediately. Breman20finds that askingpeople to increase their donations inthree months’ time leads to more andlarger increases than when people areasked to increase immediately.People may be less loss averse withtheir future income than with moneythey already have, and this may beespecially the case for ‘windfall’earnings, such as bonuses. Reinsteinand colleagues find that people arearound three times as likely to pledge adonation from prize money before theyhad won it than they were afterwards.21
  14. 14. 14 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamPart II of this paper shows how theBehavioural Insights Team has beenworking with a wide range of largeorganisations and charities in the UK totest these insights in practice throughfive randomised controlled trials.What makes randomised controlledtrials different from other types ofevaluation is the introduction of arandomly assigned control group. Thisenables you to compare theeffectiveness of a new interventionagainst what would have happened ifyou had changed nothing.  For moreinformation, see Test, Learn Adapt, ourpaper on running randomisedcontrolled trials in policy.4Randomised controlled trials are thebest method we have for understandingwhether a particular intervention (inthis case, a new scheme to supportcharitable giving) is working. The resultsfrom these trials show that thebehavioural insights set out in Part I canbe highly effective at increasingdonations. They are summarised below.Trial 1: Encouragingcommitments to futureincreases in givingMany people like to make regular(rather than one-off) donations to thesame charity, and so sign up for directdebits or payroll giving to do so.However, inflation can erode the valueof a donation by more than 15% overthe life of a typical donor. Therefore itmakes sense both from a behaviouralperspective (see Insight 4 above) and apractical one to encourage people tocommit to future increases.The Behavioural Insights Team workedwith Zurich Community Trust22(ZCT) totest the impact of encouraging peopleto sign up to annual increases in theirgiving rather than just one-offincreases.The trial was carried out as part of ZCT’sannual fundraising campaign toencourage 702 of their existing donorsto increase their donations. Allparticipants received an email invitingthem to increase their giving. But theway in which the information wasPart II: Five BehaviouralTrials
  15. 15. 15© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teampresented differed, so that we couldunderstand what the most effectiveway of encouraging people to increasetheir donations might be.The first group (the ‘One Off’ group)received a message that read:“To ensure we continue to supportdisadvantaged people in ourcommunities and to protect against theeffects of inflation over time, would yoube prepared to give a little extra eachmonth from 25th January 2013?”Along the right hand side of the email,participants had a list of options of howmuch they might want to increase theirdonations by, such that everysubsequent month their paymentswould be higher by that amount. Theywere given five different options whichZCT usually presented: £1, £2, £3, £5 or£10 (see image above).For the second and third treatments(which we refer to as the “Frames 1 and2”), participants were asked to sign upto annual increases in their giving, sothat the donation the following yearwould be increased to the same valueas the increase in the current year. Themessage these two groups received wasas follows:“To ensure we continue to supportdisadvantaged people in ourcommunities and to protect against theeffects of inflation over time, would yoube prepared to give a little extra eachmonth from 25 January 2013 andcommit to increasing your donation bythe same amount on an annual basis?”The Behavioural Insights Team alsowanted to test whether changes in theway in which the values of increaseswere presented would affect donationA sample email from Trial 1
  16. 16. 16 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamvalues (in particular, there was a viewthat the existing presentation might‘anchor’ individuals to relatively lowincreases).The second and third treatmentsdiffered from each other in terms of themenus of options presented to donors.The second group received the standardmenu used by ZCT and offeredincreases of £1, £2, £3, £5 and £10. Thethird group were given increases of £2,£4, £6, £8 and £10.Around 3% of those asked decided tomake increases in their donations.Importantly, the results show that therewas no significant difference in sign-uprates for the different ways in which thecharitable appeal was made.However, there were, importantdifferences between the values ofdonations under the differentconditions. Participants in the firstgroup (‘One Off’) increased theirdonations by more than those whowere offered the chance to increasetheir donations year on year (‘Frame1’).  This difference was around thesame amount as those who receivedthe new set of options (£2-£10, ‘Frame2’).Trial 1: Additional giving in response to email£300.78 £324.00£808.38One off Frame 1 Frame 2
  17. 17. 17© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThe crucial point here, of course, is thatbecause individuals in the ‘Frame 2’group will continue to increase theirdonations year-on-year, they willultimately donate around three timesas much over their lifetime than thosein the ‘One Off’ group.Trial 2: Changing the defaultHome Retail Group is one of the largestretail companies in the UK. Thecompany owns the Argos andHomebase brands, and has 50,000 staffacross 1,079 stores in the UK. They alsohave a successful payroll giving schemewith 25% of their staff enrolled.Charities Trust, a Payroll Giving Agency,and Home Retail Group were alreadytrying out new ways of encouragingcharitable giving in this area, includingby introducing ‘the Xtra Factor’, anautomatic escalation which increasesdonations by 3% per year when peoplechoose to join it. Automatic escalationis a good example of making it easy forpeople to donate (see Insight 1 above),and how timing influences individuals’decisions (Insight 4).However, take-up of the Xtra Factorscheme had been fairly low, with onlyaround 10% of new donors taking it up.The Behavioural Insights Team workedwith Home Retail Group and CharitiesTrust to test the effect of changing theTrial 2: Enrolment into annual increases6%49%Opt in Opt out
  18. 18. 18 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamdefault on automatic escalation –making it even easier for individuals toparticipate in the scheme.From October 2012, small changeswere made to the payroll giving forms,which made enrolment onto the XtraFactor the default, but still gave newdonors the ability to opt out shouldthey choose to do so.Following this small change, theproportion of new donors signing up forautomatic increases rose to 49% (seegraph below). If instituted across allpayroll giving schemes, this could raisean additional £3million for charities peryear. If we were to find similar effectswhen applied to direct debits as well aspayroll giving schemes, it could raise afurther £40million for charities eachyear.Trial 3: Using peer effects toencourage giving at HMRCOne particularly powerful form of socialinfluence (see Insight 3 above) is peereffects. Research shows that individualsare more likely to donate to charity ifthey see people like themselvesdonating.The Behavioural Insights Team workedwith HMRC to see whether we couldhelp encourage more people to give bytelling individuals about the charitableefforts of their colleagues, and whetherthis could be enhanced by attractingpeople’s attention to the messages(Insight 2).We conducted a trial in December 2012with staff of the HMRC office inSouthend, Essex. The Southend centrehas around 1500 employees, across 23of HMRC’s business areas.In December 2012, employees of theHMRC centre in Southend were sent‘winter-greetings e-cards’ withmessages from HMRC employees whocurrently give to charity explaining whythey do so and inviting their colleaguesto join them. The case studies weregathered from HMRC donors over thepreceding months.Two different types of e-cards werethen created to test what informationworked best and individuals wererandomly allocated into two differentgroups. The first group received onlythe messages from their colleagues.The second group received identicalmessages alongside a picture of theperson.The results were striking: including thepicture of the existing donor increasedthe number of people signing up from2.9% to 6.4% - more than doubling signup rates.We also investigated whether othercharacteristics of the existing donor
  19. 19. 19© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teammight influence a new donor to give,including gender and geographicallocation. For example, it might be thatsomeone of the same gender and livingin the same location as a potential newdonor might have more of an effectthan someone of different gender livingmore than 100 miles away. However,we found that gender and locationmade no significant difference topeople’s willingness to sign up.A sample postcard from trial 32.9%6.4%Control Group PictureTrial 3: Response to postcard to sign up for payroll giving
  20. 20. 20 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamTrial 4: Using personalisationand a small ‘thank you’ toencourage givingWhen someone receives a gift, theyoften feel a desire to give somethingback. We wanted to test the effect ofsmall ‘thank you’ gifts to encouragecharitable giving, and to see whetherthese effects might be enhanced if weused more personalised appeals (seeInsight 2 above).In order to do so, we worked with thefundraising team of Deutsche Bank intheir London offices as part of theirfundraising campaign in support of Helpa Capital Child and Meningitis ResearchUK. The existing scheme, which askedemployees to donate a day of theirsalary to charity on a single day of theyear, was already very tax effective andmatched by the bank, so that a £1donation could be worth as much as£2.88 to charity for a top rate tax payer.In the morning, all employees wererandomly allocated to receive either astandard email from the CEO addressedeither to ‘Dear colleague’ or to them byname (e.g. ‘Dear David’). In addition,some people (depending on the officethey worked in) were also greetedeither by posters advertising thecampaign, volunteers with flyers, orvolunteers with sweets.In the control group around 5% ofpeople gave a day of their salary. Thisincreased to 11% when people werealso given sweets when they enteredthe building. Interestingly, this wasabout as effective as receiving a morepersonalised email from the CEO (‘DearDavid’ rather than ‘Dear Colleague’).12% of people in this group gave a dayof their salary to charity.A small packet of sweets from Trial 4A volunteer from Trial 4
  21. 21. 21© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamBut by far the most effectiveintervention was giving people bothsome sweets as they entered thebuilding and a personalised messagefrom the CEO: this led to a tripling ofdonation rates to 17%.Overall, Deutsche Bank staff gave morethan £500,000 to charity on a singleday. What this trial shows is that, if allstaff had received the personalisedemail and sweets, the bank would haveraised more than £1million.5%11%12%17%Control Group Sweets Personal email Sweets +PersonalTrial 4: Employees choosing to donate a day’s salary
  22. 22. 22 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamTrial 5: Helping peoplecommit to donate money tocharity through their willsTiming matters when it comes towhether an individual is likely to donateto charity or not (see Insight 4 above).There are often particular touch pointsat which it makes sense to promptpeople to join payroll giving schemes –such as when an individual signs theircontract.One such touch point is when someoneis writing a will. Legacy Giving (leavingmoney to charity through your will), isan area that the Government is keen toencourage, for instance through thediscounted inheritance tax rateavailable for people who leave morethan 10% of their estate to a goodcause. There is also evidence of adisconnect between people’s intentionsto give money in their wills andunderstanding of how to go aboutdoing so - with 35% of those surveyedindicating that they wanted to leavemoney to charity in their will, but only7% of wills containing a charitablebequest.23The Behavioural Insights Team workedwith Co-Operative Legal Services andRemember a Charity to see whethercharitable giving could be supportedthrough people’s wills and whetherdifferent messages, one of which drawson the use of social norms (see Insight 3above), would work more effectivelythan others.When customers rang to book a will-writing appointment, they wererandomly assigned to a will-writer, whowould write their will with them overthe phone. Will-writers were groupedinto two teams, and we compare thiswith data from the baseline periodbefore the trial, during whichindividuals were not asked specificallywhether they wanted to donate moneyto charity in their will (this is theBaseline Group).In the first treatment group, individualswere asked: “would you like to leaveany money to charity in your will?” (wecalled this intervention ‘Plain Ask’).In the second treatment group, theywere asked: “many of our customerslike to leave money to charity in theirwill. Are there any causes you’repassionate about?” (we called thisintervention ‘Social Norm’)These lines were included as a smallpart of a standard script for will-writersto ask. In the Baseline Group, 4.9% ofindividuals chose to leave a gift tocharity in their wills. In the ‘Plain Ask’group, 10.8% of customers chose toleave a gift to charity in their wills.Under the second treatment, 15.4% ofparticipants chose to donate – a 200%increase compared with the baseline.
  23. 23. 23© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamThis clearly shows that simply askingpeople at the right moment whetherthey want to donate leads to asubstantial increase in giving, andsecondly that the way in which thequestion is asked is really important.More impressive still, the averagedonation among people in the thirdgroup (£6,661) is £3,300 larger thanthose in the first group (£3,300).Overall, there were 1,000 individuals ineach of the treatment groups. In total,the Social Norm group alone raised atotal of £990,000, which represents anincrease of £825,000 above thebaseline. The Plain Ask and Social Normgroups collectively raised almost£1milllion above the baseline.Trial 5: Signing up to legacy givingTrial 5: Average donations4.9%10.8%15.4%Baseline Plain Ask Social Norm£3,300 £3,110£6,661Baseline Plain Ask Social Norm
  24. 24. 24 | Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights TeamReferences1. Charities Aid Foundation (2012): “UK Giving 2012” online: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/sites/default/files/uk_giving_full_report_1211.pdf2. Dunn, Aknin, Norton (2008): “Spending Money on Others PromotesHappiness” Science, Vol.319 pp1687-16883. Halpern (2010): ‘Giving, Well-beingand Behavioural Science’4. For more information on the use ofrandomised controlled trials, see theteam’s paper ‘Test, Learn, Adapt: Developing Public Policy UsingRandomised Controlled Trials’, 20125. Behavioural Insights Team (2011): “Applying Behavioural Insights to Fraud,Error and Debt” Cabinet Office6. Small & Loewenstein (2003): “Helpinga Victim or Helping the Victim: Altruismand identifiability”, Journal of Risk andUncertainty, Vol.26(1) pp5-167. Small, Loewenstein & Slovic (2007): “Sympathy and Callousness: the impactof delibertative thought on donationsto identifiable and statistical victims” Organisational Behaviour and Design Making Vol.102 pp143-1538. Cotterill, John, and Richardson (2010): “The impact of a pledgecampaign and the promise of publicityon charitable giving: a randomisedcontrolled trial of a book donationcampaign” Paper presented to therandomised controlled trials in thesocial science conference, York, September 20109. Huck and Rasul (2011): “MatchedFundraising: Evidence from a naturalfield experiment”, Journal of PublicEconomics, Vol.95(5-6) pp351-36210. Karlan and List (2007): “Does pricematter in charitable giving? Evidencefrom a large scale natural fieldexperiment”, American EconomicReview, pp1774-179311. Sanders, Norton and Smith (2013): “Non-Standard Matches and CharitableGiving”, Harvard Business SchoolWorking Paper12. Information is Beautiful (2010): “The science behind Wikipedia’s JimmyAppeal”, online: http://
  25. 25. 25© Crown copyright - not to be reproduced without prior permission from the Behavioural Insights Teamwww.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/the-science-behind-wikipedias-jimmy-appeal/13 Bernheim (1994). “A theory ofconformity” Journal of politicalEconomy, 841-877.14 Vesterlund (2006). “Why do peoplegive.” The nonprofit sector: A researchhandbook, 2, 168-190.15 Carman (2004): “Social Influencesand the Designation of CharitableContributions: Evidence from theWorkplace” Working Paper16 Meer (2011). “Brother, can you sparea dime? Peer pressure in charitablesolicitation”, Journal of PublicEconomics, 95(7), 926-941.17 Falk, Fischbacher & Gachter (2009):“Living in two neighbourhoods: Socialinteraction effects in the lab”, CedexDiscussion Paper series 2009-0118 Smith, Windmeijer, & Wright (2012).“Peer effects in charitable giving:Evidence from the (running) field”,CMPO Working Paper, 12/290.19 Alpizar, Carlsson, & Johansson-Stenman (2008). “Anonymity,reciprocity, and conformity: Evidencefrom voluntary contributions to anational park in Costa Rica”, Journal ofPublic Economics, 92(5), 1047-1060.20 Breman (2012): “Give MoreTomorrow”, Journal of Public Economics21.Reinstein, Reiner, Sanders & Kellner(2013): “Giving in Probability”, WorkingPaper22 The Zurich Community Trust is a UKregistered charity funded by pre-taxprofits and donations from Zurich’sstaff, and provides an umbrella for all ofZurich’s community involvement in theUK.23 Remember a Charity (2013): ‘Whyare gifts so important to charities’,online: http://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/pages/why-are-gifts-so-important-to-charities.html

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