What do we study?
For 50 years academics and other researchers have studied donor motivation – why people give. We believe that what people are saying about themselves when they give is massively more powerful. And we can demonstrate that too. Donors give because they are parents, cancer survivors, environmentalists, Muslim, liberal etc.
Our past research shows that priming donor identity can increase giving by between 65 and 200%, and make people feel that their giving is more personally meaningful, hence boosting psychological wellbeing by between 5 and 65%.
We are currently looking at how to harness the power of donor identity in a range of different communications.
Giving can be both an articulation of faith and a route to faith, yet much of fundraising practice is focused on the former and thus frames giving as a duty or an obligation of faith. In this component of our work we are focused on the latter.
We are looking at how to enhance supporter wellbeing by helping individuals on their faith journey through the act of giving. How can communications be designed to enhance the value that they offer people of faith?
Our early testing has literally doubled giving as a consequence of this emphasis and we are presently seeking funding to extend this learning and offer a “Faith and Fundraising” educational program.
Part of the Institute’s role is to collate new material that might be relevant to fundraisers and to make that widely and freely available through educational programs offered by partners such as the Institute of Fundraising or the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
In 2019/20 we are seeking funding to collate the body of knowledge for digital fundraising, drawing on research conducted by academics, but also the testing routinely undertaken by nonprofits and their supplier agencies around the world. We currently know a lot about how best to fundraise in the digital space, but it is spread across the nonprofit diaspora and no-one has as yet curated that material and made it freely available to everyone who might benefit.
We intend to plug that gap.
Philanthropic Psychology Lab
Research conducted in our lab is designed to break new theoretical ground in the scientific understanding of how humans love others and are thus drawn to philanthropy.
We have many ideas in the domains of identity and wellbeing, but to assess the potential impact of these ideas, to prioritise them and to determine how to maximize their impact we need to conduct laboratory experiments.
This experimental work is vital and we are currently seeking funding to build our lab (online) and pay participants. The lab is essential to our ability to innovate with a pipeline of new ideas.