In November 2016, as part of a series of experiments examining the role of incentives, GlobalGiving experimented with messaging that referenced intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to spur the engagement of our nonprofit partners.
Eligible organizations randomly assigned to one of four email messages were asked to watch a GlobalGiving webinar, “Developing a SMART year-end fundraising strategy,” and to complete the accompanying Effectiveness cycle, which involves reflecting on and documenting what actions they have taken or plan to take after watching the webinar and what they have learned from the experience. Organizations that watched the webinar and completed the Effectiveness cycle would automatically earn GG Reward points, which improve the organization’s status on the GlobalGiving and give them more access to GlobalGiving benefits.
For this experiment, we created four different emails that combined and tested various types of messages. One segment of the organizations was reminded that they would receive six GG Reward points upon completion of the Effectiveness cycle (extrinsic motivation); another was encouraged to complete the cycle because it would help them deliver more impact (intrinsic motivation). We also included an additional extrinsic incentive of a GlobalGiving homepage feature to a portion of the organizations.
The test groups are defined below:
- Test group #1: Intrinsic Motivational Talk – We encouraged the organization to watch the webinar and complete the cycle because it would help them to have a bigger impact in the communities where they work. There was no reminder of the GG Reward points they would earn if they completed the cycle.
- Test group #2: Intrinsic Motivational Talk + Homepage Feature – We encouraged the organization to watch the webinar and complete the cycle because it would help them have a bigger impact in the communities where they work, and they would have a chance to be featured on our homepage. There was no reminder of the GG Reward points
- Test group #3: GG Rewards Reminder – We encouraged the organization to watch the webinar and complete the cycle, and reminded them they would earn six GG Reward points toward Superstar status.
- Test group #4: GG Rewards Reminder + Homepage Feature – We encouraged the organization to watch the webinar and complete the cycle, reminding them they would earn six GG Reward points toward Superstar status. Plus, they would have a chance to be featured on our homepage.
We found that motivating organizations extrinsically, whether via GG Reward points or homepage features, is correlated with increased webinar views, but that test groups differences disappear over time. That is, no group was more successful than another in completing the full cycle of learning. Rather, past performance is a better predictor of cycle completions, with highly-engaged Superstars more likely to complete the cycle regardless of test group.
From this experiment, we concluded that extrinsic motivations are more effective in than intrinsic motivations in driving people to view webinars; however, past performance on the GlobalGiving platform is a better predictor for persisting through to cycle completions. Our conclusion highlights the importance of effective onboarding and continual support of our nonprofit partners, especially with regards to GG Rewards. More research into the barriers to engagement, either within the nonprofit organizations, or with the GlobalGiving platform, is needed to sustainably increase partner engagement.
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Written by Joanne Lin – Impact Analytics Associate