Reciprocity, it’s one of the big reasons why promotional products work.
It simply means that if someone receives something they feel a desire to “return the favour”.
Charities looking to raise more money for their organisation should be aware of its power and how to utilise it.
An experiment conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team showed that giving a packet of sweets in conjunction with sending a personal email increased the percentage of bankers that donated to the charity from 5% to 17%.
Across all trials they managed to raise over £500 000, however it’s estimated that if every employee received a personalised email and sweets they could instead have raised over £1 million.
The Behavioural Insights team worked together with the team of Deutsche Bank in their London offices as a part of a fundraising campaign to support Help a Capital Child and Meningitis Research UK.
The goal was to get employees of the bank to donate a day of their salary to the charity. (Also notice the clever way in which this is framed).
The control group resulted in around 5% of people opting in. Which increased to 11% when they were given some promotional lollies upon their arrival and 12% when they received a personalised email from the CEO that addressed them by name.
However, by far and away the most effective strategy was sending a personalised email as well as giving the lollies. This resulted in donation rates more than tripling from the control group (17%).
Although this same methodology might not be suitable for all charity organisations it provides useful insights into the norm of reciprocity and how small changes can have a big impact on the amount of funds raised.
A simple “nudge” can be all it takes to influence behaviour for the better.
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