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Say "No" to Money (to Raise More Money)

Say “no” to money. We dare you. 

Believe it or not, sometimes saying ‘no’ to money, helps the money pour in.  Counter-intuitive? Yes.  But does it work? Yes! 

Based on 10+ years of game-theoretic research and live lab experiments, conducted by two of the company's US founders, NYU and UC Berkeley economics professors, give2gether has built an online fundraising platform, that also introduces some brand new line of thought on crowd and donor sourcing  

Consider ALL or NOTHING when it comes to setting your fundraising goals.

Set an ambitious but not unachievable target, and vow to your donors that unless you hit that target in the allotted time, you will return all the money raised so far. Every single cent.

For example – a hospital looking to raise $50,000 for a new CT machine creates a ‘conditional giving’ campaign.  Either they raise the $50k needed to buy the new machine, or they return any money raised by the time the campaign ends.  They can’t buy half a CT machine, and they won’t redirect the money raised into another cause.  It’s the machine or nothing.

Sounds crazy, eh?  What sort of fundraiser worth their salt would promise to give back money that has been donated by generous, supportive donors?? 

Here’s the thing.  By opting into the ‘conditional giving’ or ‘in it to win it’ strategy, it has been proven in Berkeley XLab (Economic experimental lab) that your donors are more likely to rally, rise up, step up to the plate and come through for you. They know exactly what is at stake, and they won’t let you down. 

Knowing that the balance of the money raised so far rests on their shoulders, gives incentive to civil philanthropists to make the final push, give more than they normally might, and enlist the support of their own networks to help meet your goal before time runs out and the money is snatched back.

And here’s something else interesting.  Try setting a maximum donation amount for your donors.  No, we didn’t say minimum, though that too.  We said maximum.  Donating money is scary. How much to give? How often? Help your donors make those decisions by removing the guilt and uncertainty.  Set an upper limit and time after time, they will donate amounts closer to their top limit, based on your suggested amount.

Now. We don’t just want money from donors.  Your donors are more valuable to your campaigns and causes than just their credit cards, cash and cheques. What you really want are for them to inspire their friends. You want each donor to share and spread, post and get excited, introducing your project to their entire social network and community.  One person with their $50 quickly turns into 100 friends who reach out to their friends each with their $20-50 donation, and see an average social activist bring in x20-x30 of his original individual donation! Awesome!

Our research demonstrates that:

(1) by increasing transparency, fundraisers can enlist trust, donor engagement and commitment  

(2) conditional giving, i.e., the ‘in it, to win it’ principle encourages donors to rise to the occasion to help campaigns succeed and meet their target  

(3) money is not enough, but that people’s vocal support and advocacy are ultimately more important for exponential growth 


Shachar Kariv Bio

Educated at Tel Aviv University & New York University; Ph.D. in Economics. In 2003 joined the Department of Economics at University of California, Berkeley as Professor & Faculty Director of UC Berkeley Experimental Social Science Laboratory (Xlab), a laboratory for conducting experiment-based investigations of issues of interest to social sciences. His fields of interest include game theory, decision theory, and experimental and behavioral economics. His research includes social learning, social networks, social and moral preferences, and risk preferences and are published in a variety of academic journals including, The American Economic Review, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Theory, and others,



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