Better Giving Studio identified this concept through the 2020 Reimagine Charitable Giving Challenge, an open innovation component of the program which sourced nearly 400 digital giving products and concepts. The concept summary below is inspired by and derived from the Challenge entry submitted to the Challenge.
Donors are fueled by a variety of motivations, ranging from feeling the “warm glow” associated with the act of giving, to supporting causes and organizations that hold personal meaning. However, the organizations that givers choose might not be the ones that deliver the most impact. For example, trachoma surgeries to prevent blindness often cost less than $50, whereas training a guide dog to help a person who is already blind may cost $50,000 (Ord, 2013). The money spent on training a single guide dog could have prevented approximately 1,000 people from going blind in the first place. To motivate people to give more effectively, effective giving needs to be more satisfying.
According to experts, typical charities are likely to be hundreds of times less effective than the world’s most effective charities. Giving Multiplier encourages people to give both “from the heart” and “from the head” by bundling donations to include a super effective charity with a personal favorite charity, and incentivizing donations with matching funds. As a result, the platform raises more funds as it raises awareness and understanding of effective giving.
Giving Multiplier offers matching funds to incentivize donors to make a bundled donation—dividing their donation between a personal favorite charity and a super-effective charity that’s backed by evidence.
First, users select their favorite legally recognized US charity. Second, they select one of nine highly effective charities recommended by experts (e.g. GiveWell). Users can click to read information about these charities and their effectiveness. Third, users specify the amount they want to donate and how they want to divide their donation between the two charities. Finally, Giving Multiplier adds to users’ donations using a match fund. The higher the percentage the donor gives to the super-effective charity, the more Giving Multiplier adds on top to both charities, from 2%-20%.
Users are also encouraged to become “micro matchers.” They can contribute some amount of their donation into the matching pool, enabling Giving Multiplier to match the donations of new users. Five internal experiments (N>2000) show:
Behavioral research on charitable giving has focused on strategies to increase the quantity of donations. By contrast, Giving Multiplier focuses on increasing the effectiveness of donations, without asking people to give more or to abandon the charities that resonate with them on a personal level. Giving Multiplier sees the potential to transform charitable giving, bringing effective altruism to a much wider circle of donors.
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