Imagine if you see the option of putting down a donation of $100 to your favorite charity cause to actually contribute 2-5x of that amount. So by donating $100 you are essentially donating $200-500 to the charity. Doesn't that sound more compelling to you than a standard $100 donation? Won't you be more inclined to click on that "Donate" button ?

Is this possible? Yes it is, by changing the old and outdated donation gathering system design we can easily motivate people to donate more. 

I propose we should have two types of donations: 1.  Matching Donation Pledge. 2. Standard Donation

  1. Matching Donation Pledge - As a user I can pledge a donation match of $100 (max) to a charity. This is not a direct debit from my account, but rather a temporary hold. Once someone does a standard donation of $100 to the charity my $100 will be deducted from my  bank and a donation will finally be made from my account.
  2. Standard Donation - As a user I can choose to donate $100 to a charity. If there has already been (1 or more) matching donation pledges to the same charity for the same cause, I may be able to increment my donation to $100 * Y (Y being the number of similar pledges). When I go on the donation page, I see something like - "Donate $200 by giving $100"

The whole point of this system design is to encourage people to donate more. It may work since the users see a higher than normal impact. 

This idea is not new, it is already implemented in several large corporations and has worked wonders in gathering large donations. 

Would EA be interested in implementing an experiment to see if such a donation design works? If yes, I wouldn't mind guiding you to do so.




Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 9:23 AM

While not exactly the same, EA researchers are already doing something quite similar:

Yes, it's a similar idea to the "Matching as donor coordination" idea I describe in this post.  (Feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts.)

I really appreciate the work that is doing. I am certain it will lead to greater reflection by donors and increase funding for important causes, particularly highly impactful charities. For a simple live database of donation matches that are publicly available, may (or may not) be of interest. Donation Multiplier (also conceived at Harvard) is not geared towards effective altruism at this moment in time but rather seeks to encourage donations from individuals that might not otherwise be donating. As one of the founders, it is our hope that over time we can increase the number of donation match listings, particularly matches offered by cost-effective and highly impactful charities, resulting in a net gain in money donated to charities i.e. expanding the pool of resources, in addition to increasing the relative frequency and amount of donations to highly effective charities. We are also passionate about improving the integrity of donation matches e.g. addressing the repackaging of donations into matches or delays in removing matches once the cap has been exceeded, so we are currently exploring a system for ensuring that only matches that meet certain standards of integrity are included on our site, thus we hope that in the future Donation Multiplier will also function as a screening tool.

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