Social Proof as a Way of Increasing Gifts

One of my favorite resources is Sofii (showcase of funding and inspiration). It’s a compilation of resources, examples and inspiration. As I was looking through Sofii for articles related to asking for a gift (to fit in with this week’s focus on asking), one in particular stood out.

Charlie Hulme, creative director at Pell & Bales (a leading European telephone fundraising agency), shares some relevant information relating to how providing positive proof can impact giving in this post, Together not separate. Here’s a summary:

The use of canned laughter in television shows has been known to increase the length of time that people will laugh along. We often look to others before deciding how we respond to a situation. This is one of the reasons that we pass by someone in distress – if the person before us didn’t respond it is less likely that the next person will respond.

He also refers to an experiment by Professor Dean Karlan at Yale University that found that if they shared that they had already raised 2/3 of the amount needed, others were more likely to give. This is consistent with a study completed by Adrian Sargeant for public radio.

There are two additional anecdotes – one related to the likelihood of a wallet being returned and the other related to donation boxes (and whether they were empty or ‘seeded’ with money).

Well worth the read if you’re looking for proof related to, well, social proof (because if others are already doing it, it must be good!).

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