Easy ‘prosocial’ acts give people license to say ‘I’ve done my bit already’

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 3 April 2014 | News  24 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Easy ‘prosocial’ acts give people license to say ‘I’ve done my bit already’ Tagged with: Individual giving Research / statistics Allowing people to carry out “prosocial” acts with little cost to themselves could give them the ‘moral licence’ to avoid making bigger contributions later on.At the JustGiving-sponsored Fundraising Insights conference last week, Alex Imas, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, summarised two pieces of recent research he had conducted.The first experiment looked at how people engaged in prosocial incentives schemes of the type that might be offered by employers, such as lunchtime keep fit classes or recycling schemes, which often offered people some kind of incentive for taking part. Sometimes, the incentive can be that money will be donated to charity.Imas’s research found that people were more likely to work harder in schemes that gave money to charity only if it was a relatively low amount, but if it was a much higher incentive, they worked harder if it benefitted them directly rather than charity.The second area of research summarised by Imas looked at whether acting prosocially affected people’s future ethical behavior. This found that people who made an initial costly contribution were more likely to act with ‘moral consistency’ and behave more prosocially in the future.But if they made a low cost contribution, they used this to give them the ‘moral license’ to avoid acting prosocially in the future – in effect to say that they had ‘already done their bit’. About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.last_img read more