Q: How can behavioural science help increase attendance/participation at fundraising gala and live auction events?

October 27, 2018      Kiki Koutmeridou, Chief Behavioral Scientist, DonorVoice

I can think of the following principles that could be applied:

  • Scarcity: show that there aren’t many places to begin with or left
  • Exclusivity: builds on scarcity but also introduces flattery, they’ve been handpicked
  • Urgency: tackle procrastination by requesting immediate action for a reason
  • “We reserved you a seat”: The Behavioural Insights Team had tested various messages to improve attendance and they found that this was the most effective
  • Loss aversion: use the fear of missing out
  • Social proof: show that this event is popular for people similar to them
  • Perceived impact: people help because they want to make a difference. Emphasise the impact they might have

There are many ways to execute on all the above. Below are some examples. Some are using a combination of the above principles:

  • Invitation only event for select audience
  • limited seats
  • half of the seats are gone already
  • We reserved you a seat
  • Reply asap so that you don’t miss your seat
  • Join your peers in having your say and making an impact
  • Don’t miss out on your chance to make a difference

This isn’t an exhaustive list of how behavioural science could help. Knowing the details of the event and the audience would help determine how else you could nudge behaviour.