Give If You Win
Conference: Bonus Giving and Innovations in Effective Employee Fundraising
Proposed date: March/April 2018
Key People and Organisations
Engage like minded individuals from across sectors in the impact project ‘Innovations in Fundraising’. Our key initiative, “Give If You Win”, connects employee bonuses with philanthropy (slogan: ‘when professionals win, charities thrive’).
Explore connections to the work of our project partners, including the Centre for Effective Altruism.
Introducing “Give If You Win”
This conference will explore the “Bonus Pledge” and other evidence-backed innovations aiming to boost the level of employee philanthropy in the City of London and beyond, while considering the effectiveness of this giving, and the intrinsic motivation and external recognition of the donors.
We will come together as finance and management professionals, academics, nonprofit workers, and philanthropists to share our knowledge and experience of what is possible, what works, and what is worth testing. We are targeting a real impact: this conference will be a success if it leads firms, fundraisers, and researchers to plan specific tests and trials.
In 2016, City Philanthropy held a “Bonus Pledge Think Tank” to consider ways to make the “City’s bonus pot become a force for good”. This is an application of Give if You Win; evidence from David Reinstein (Exeter Department of Economics) and others suggests that people are likely to be more generous with uncertain future income than with money they already have in the bank. This has a very practical application for the financial sector: charitable fundraisers can ask for a commitment: “if you earn a bonus, how much will you donate?”
The same argument supports giving pledges such as the CEA’s Giving What We Can and the Founder’s Pledge. Dr. Reinstein is collaborating with George Howlett, head of the EA Workplace Activism project on an ESRC-funded impact project, Innovations in Fundraising. We are working with the CEA’s network of motivated effective altruists; practical idealists working in city firms, to get companies to test and adopt new methods of enhancing employee giving, and to encourage donors to consider the effectiveness and impact of their contributions.
Conference Proposed Format (preliminary sketch)
- Introduction by a prominent speaker touching on some mix of the current state of employee giving and philanthropy in the City of London, bonus giving, new philanthropy, effective evidence-based altruism and applying behavioural research to fundraising (20 min)
- David Reinstein to outline “Give if You Win,” going through the basic idea, evidence, the aims, and our intentions, ideas and plans for testing and implementing in the financial sector (35 min)
- Discuss key issues and concerns; what we need to know more about to make this work
- Short Q&A (and let people make any points they want to make) to follow this (10-15 min)
- David will discuss the (Dokuwiki) resources the Innovations in Fundraising group are building, and explain how to use these (10 min)
- Coffee/lunch break and mingling (45 min)
- Tech-enabled engagement and interaction
- Brief survey on the key relevant questions (to be used as evidence for the project)
- Real time polls - display the outcome of these on the projector
- Talk from George Howlett, or another CEA member introducing EA, workplace activism, and links to the ‘Innovations in Fundraising’ project, followed by Q&A (40 min)
- Focus groups, or group discussions (45 minutes)
- Speaker from a charity or business leader (20 min)
- Talk from Founder’s Pledge (20 min)
- Networking Coffee Break (15 min)
- Talk from a member of “Giving What We Can” or “80,000 Hours”, or another such organisation; discussing the benefit of being part of such a network for professional development (20 min)
- Q&A Panel with all speakers, discussing further ideas or angles of the project, and advice on the next stage of implementation (20 min)
- Networking - encourage people to ask and share ideas with questions to the speakers 1-1 and to share ideas (30 min)
- Questionnaire to evaluate the conference and give feedback. This will include specific questions about ‘willingness to make commitments’ and ‘how to navigate hurdles and push this forward.’
- Closing speech highlighting key points and announce follow up plans (10 min)
6 hours 30 minutes, including lunch and coffee breaks.
We encourage participation from those who can attend only part of this.
Connecting “Give If You Win” with Effective Altruism
- Many active members of the Effective Altruism (EA) community work as financial services professionals at top firms which offer significant incentive pay
- There is a well connected and growing EA community in London
- “Giving from bonuses” is an under-explored area of fundraising; this project could lead to considerable contributions from city workers to effective charities, particularly if these are tied together in the communications and promotion
- In general if employees know that contributions from their bonuses are being used in the most effective way, they are more likely to commit to giving from their windfall income.
- Financial services professionals use their analytical minds to solve complex problems in their jobs on a daily basis; altruistic professionals in this sector are likely to be interested in discovering and using methods which allow them to apply this way of thinking to their donations, ensuring that their money is being used in the most effective way possible
- Give If You Win and bonus-pledges are inherently connected to the giving pledges at the core of the EA movement such as “Giving What We Can” and the “Founders Pledge”
- We should share information about what works
- A 10% bonus pledge could be promoted in the context of the 10% Giving What We Can commitment. For example, “we are giving 10% of our income, will you give 10% of your bonus?”
Further Project Goals
- Hold meetings and focus groups to identify the necessary requirements and potential obstacles to implementing and testing systems allowing employees to commit potential incentive pay (bonuses) to charity (in collaboration with CEA)
- Run pilots and controlled trials of “Give if You Win” and other employee-giving innovations inside firms (jointly with the CEA)
- Amplify our influence through “best practice” reports and accessible dissemination materials (with CEA and partner firms), translating research results to a wider context, to identify opportunities for further impact