Rethinking charity: the power of doing more good

Diverse group of 12 people volunteering for a charity project

Leveraging behavioural science and the chain reaction of sharing

At Sitback, we’re not just a digital agency; we’re architects of meaningful online experiences, especially when it comes to supporting Not-For-Profit organisations. In this article, we explore a fascinating study that uncovers the potential of reframing charity conversations and how it aligns seamlessly with our human-centred design philosophy.

The science of sharing: virtue signalling and the chain reaction effect

In a ground-breaking study published in Marketing Science late 2023, researchers Ike Silver, assistant professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and co-author Deborah Small of Yale University, shed light on a paradox within the realm of charitable giving. People, while inherently generous, often hesitate to publicly share their charitable contributions due to the fear of appearing self-congratulatory, a phenomenon commonly known as ‘virtue signalling.’

However, the research suggests that this discomfort may be hindering the full potential of the positive impact that sharing can have on a cause. The key finding? Reminding donors that sharing their contributions can create a ‘domino effect’ significantly increases donor engagement and future giving.

The study, which included more than 77,000 participants, revealed that a simple message (“your donation can start a chain reaction…”) displayed after a donation has been made, created a remarkable difference compared to the standard “please share” message, which solicits donors to share, but doesn’t explicitly cue them to consider that doing so is a net positive for the cause.

Quantifying the Impact: Key Statistics

  • Boosted click-through rates on a link inviting them to share by an impressive 5.1%.
  • Increased individual donors’ likelihood of recruiting at least one later donation by a substantial 12.4%.
  • Raised average recruited donations per participant by an outstanding 16.6% relative to the control group.

These statistics really do underscore the power of a positive message, transforming the way donors engage and contribute to charitable causes.

Implementing positive change: A/B testing for impactful results

At Sitback, we believe in not just uncovering insights but translating them into actionable strategies for our clients. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how companies can implement these findings using our recommended process:

  1. Introduce a “share your donation” call to action (CTA): If you don’t have one already, implement a CTA encouraging donors to share their contributions after completing a donation.
  2. Analytics setup for tracking: Ensure your analytics are correctly set up to track clicks on the CTA, attributing them back to the original donor for downstream donation tracking.
  3. A/B testing for validation: Set up and run an A/B test comparing the new “your donation can start a chain reaction” messaging with your current messaging over a 30-day period. This allows enough time for downstream donations to occur and provides robust data for analysis.
  4. Data review and confirmation: Review the A/B test data, confirming whether the new messaging improves click-through and conversion rates. Consider the impact of different channels, such as social platforms and basic email.
  5. Implementation of positive changes: Assuming a positive result, implement the change permanently, integrating the optimised messaging into your donation process.
  6. Continuous optimisation: Repeat this process for other aspects of your donation path, leveraging cognitive biases and consumer psychology to continually optimise and improve.

Need a hand?

Implementing experiments like the one discussed in this research requires a strategic approach and expertise. Our Experience Design team conducts experiments like these daily, helping busy teams prove the effectiveness of their work while safely increasing revenue through data-backed decisions.

If you need help to implement, test, and measure these changes, get in touch – we’d love to help you drive positive impact and achieve your goals. You can also check out our data & analytics services.

An act of kindness one hand passes a seed to another hand.

Shaping a positive narrative

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital solutions for Not-For-Profit organisations, understanding the dynamics of donor behaviour is paramount. By adopting a language that resonates positively, acknowledging donor concerns, and promoting the chain reaction effect of sharing, charities can reshape the narrative of giving, creating a ripple effect that goes beyond individual contributions.

We are committed to not just designing digital solutions but fostering a community of positive change. Let’s continue to do more good, share our stories, and amplify the impact of the causes we hold dear.