Giving Compass' Take:

• Dean Karlan, Piyush Tantia, and Sarah Welch share nudges to boost donations from both impulsive and deliberate donors. 

• How can this information be applied to giving campaigns? 

• Learn more about nudging donors to give more

Charities struggling with these donor barriers can turn to behavioral economics for insight. The science, encompassing psychology, economics, and other fields, can help facilitate donations, whether impulsive—quick gifts involving little analysis but rapid and positive emotional feedback—or deliberate—thoughtful contributions that resist the temptation of fast, feel-good donor experiences and more deeply account for the recipient of the aid and its results.

Using these two categories for giving guides us toward impulsive and deliberative marketing techniques—“nudges” rooted in behavioral economics—that can profoundly influence the amount that people donate and the choices they make about which organizations to support.

Feeling Good With Impulsive Giving

A significant portion of charitable donations come from impulse donors responding quickly to feelings of generosity. These acts of giving provide fast and easy emotional satisfaction. Impulsive donors are usually reacting to an appeal rather than considering long-term donation plans or carefully evaluating charity recipients. The rise of mobile platforms has contributed to the popularity of impulse giving, making it easier than ever for potential donors to immediately send money, usually in small amounts, via text, Venmo, Facebook, or other tools.

Six Nudge Techniques for Impulsive Giving
  1. Make Giving Easy
  2. Make Giving Feel Really Good
  3. Spotlight Social Norms
  4. Prime the Right Identity
  5. Emphasize Different Attributes
  6. Bundle Short-term Temptation With Long-term Benefits
Doing Good With Deliberative Giving

Deliberative donors are important because they're more likely to give to charities that are effective. A rise in deliberative giving could produce more resources for best-in-class charities, leading to greater social benefit. This type of giving can also help support effective use of charitable funds and encourage organizations to maintain good evaluation and reporting practices.

Four Nudge Techniques for Deliberative Giving
  1. Create a Commitment Mechanism
  2. Set Goals and Make Plans
  3. Leverage Social Norms and Identity
  4. Bring Attention to the Choice

Read the full article about nudges for donors by Dean Karlan, Piyush Tantia, and Sarah Welch at Stanford Social Innovation Review.