The Giving Calendar
Schedule donations for key events throughout the year.
Donor Journey
Transaction
Transferring money to an external party
Donor Outcome
Intentionality
Encouraging more purposeful giving
Schedule donations for key events throughout the year.
Donor Journey
Transaction
Transferring money to an external party
Donor Outcome
Intentionality
Encouraging more purposeful giving
Challenge

People do not always donate in line with their intentions. Research shows that people intend to give more than they actually do. For example, an online survey of 500 people revealed that respondents thought most people should donate 6% of their annual income to charity, which is double the average household giving rate. Giving in the US is also extremely seasonal, with around 30% of giving taking place in December, and 10-12% of all giving in the US happening in the last 3 days of the year.

Part of the reason for this seasonality in giving is that the holiday season and the end of the tax year both provide moments of increased salience for donors. What if donors could be reminded of other salient moments throughout the year when they intend to be generous but fail to follow through on that intention?

Solution

Forming if-then plans is a highly effective means of following-through on self-directed tasks and reducing an intention-action gap. If-then planning begins with the identification of relevant opportunities which initiates the pursuit of a goal. An if-then plan is then formed as a response to the following prompt: If [opportunity] arises, then I will [respond in this way]. What if key events throughout the year could be recognized as opportunities for giving in this way? “When Mom’s birthday comes, I’ll give to breast cancer awareness. Every year on Thanksgiving, I’ll donate to my local food bank.” Committing those intentions as a “Giving Calendar” for the year might help donors seize these opportunities for generosity.

Setting future intentions also seems to be a particularly effective approach to generosity. Research shows that we are more likely to commit to being generous in the future. Additionally, research indicates that the warm glow that comes with generous acts may be capable of being recycled---so a donor feels good both when scheduling the donation and again when transacting. More research in this area is needed, but it is a promising area to build on.

Ultimately, the objective of a planning solution is to help potential donors remember to act and seize opportunities when they arise to increase the likelihood that they will give.

Research
A research study found a 50% increase in completed donations when asking participants to give in a week’s time instead of the same day.
Read More
Design
For a “Giving Calendar” to work, it needs to be surfaced to a user at a time of high intention. There are occasions throughout the year that may naturally heighten potential donors’ feelings of intentionality and generosity: the giving season, the start of a new year, or tax time. While commitment to future gifts is ideal, we believe it is also important to build some flexibility into the commitments. Our concept would collect payment information but make it clear to the donor that the payment will not be processed until the chosen donation date. This leverages people’s willingness to be more generous with future giving transactions and also tries to avoid “crowding out” current giving (see Research box above).
Users should first be presented with an interface that allows them to identify their giving opportunities. This includes deciding upon the date, amount, and destination organization for their upcoming gifts. Selecting dates that are meaningful and also likely to coincide with feelings of generosity should be encouraged. While specific plans are the most likely to be followed up on, it is also advisable to leave some room for setting plans that might not be fully figured out, perhaps by making some of the fields optional. For example, if the donor is unsure of the organization to which they would like to give during the Thanksgiving holiday, a mechanism to memorialize the intention (such as identifying the cause area) should be surfaced.
When the date of their next planned gift is approaching, users should be reminded of their upcoming transaction and provided with an opportunity to adjust their plans as needed. At the end of the year, users should receive a summary of their giving throughout the year along with an opportunity to pre-fill their plan for the following year. The goal would be to build better habits over time and help users formulate future year giving plans.
How to use this idea
The product ideas presented on the site are offered up to be adopted, remixed, or used as inspiration for your own innovation efforts. Follow these attribution guidelines as you use and share this idea, and tell us about your progress.
Creative Commons License
The Giving Calendar by Better Giving Studio is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.BetterGivingStudio.com/product-idea/the-giving-calendar/.
Please share your reactions
Help us refine and improve this idea.
Select all that apply.
This idea is ...
Innovative
Credible
Easy to understand
Potentially valuable
Actionable
Useful to me
Similar to work I've done
Other
Areas for improvement
Design concept
Research sources
Product examples
Other