Monday, February 18, 2013

Fundraising and Thinking Small

Here is a link to a recent article by Wray Herbert titled "The Power of One: The Psychology of Charity".  The article describes recent research done by professors at the University of Chicago that finds people are more generous in their donations when asked to envision one individual that their donation can support prior to making a donation that can help a larger group, rather than asking them to focus on the larger group itself when making the donation.  This psychological notion of "scope insensitivity" has the potential to change the way charities think about fundraising.  It is often the case that charities stress the scale of the problem they face, hoping to convince donors how seriously funding is needed.  This research seems to suggest that by thinking small, stressing not the scale but one piece of the puzzle at a time, may actually increase the desire to give.  Of course, charities do this to some extent by highlighting individuals and their success stories.  But, such anecdotes can do more than effectively demonstrate successes.  Anecdotes can apparently also effectively demonstrate needs to donors.

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