Why Everyday Should Be A #GivingTuesday
The Power of #EverydayGiving!
As we approach #GivingTuesday this year, I’m reminded of how our primal instincts are awakened on days like Black Friday, Singles Day, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day, among others. Why do brands take advantage of this phenomenon and how do we let days like these get the better of us? Is there something we can do to invert the power curve of these brands? Perhaps these methods could potentially satisfy our impulse to feel good about ourselves, without the guilt of consumerism!
In this blog, let’s evaluate a few important concepts of “Everyday” Giving. Is there something special about habitual days of shopping or giving? Can sophisticated psychographics and neural-marketing techniques can be evoked for social good? While we continue to splurge on things that allow us to live comfortably, learn continuously, we should enable each one of us to have a great impact on society at large.
It turns out, tricking our brain is quite easy to do. Brands take advantage of it all the time. In fact, a famous delayed gratification experiment, or ‘marshmallow test’ done at Stanford University in the mid 1960’s, explained how behavior could be predicted in children as young as 3-4 years old. The lesser known results from this experiment are, while only 15-25% passed the controlled gratification gate, participants increased their chances of NOT falling prey to their primal instincts as long as they were not directly exposed to the marshmallow (if they didn’t see it, kept it covered, or put it at a distance). The trick was to replace one habit with that of another.
Walmart has a sign on their stores that says, “Everyday Savings!” – why isn’t this principle applicable to Giving? Why isn’t this method being used to generate billions of dollars in return? So, it’s time we turned the immense power of brand persuasion to our own social and philanthropic advantage. Below, let’s explore how simple it can be to incorporate this process in daily life with existing tools and systems. Every interaction, human-to-machine, human-to-human, machine-to-machine, and machine-to-human, can be turned into a virtuous giving cycle. In fact, some of us may already be doing this and never knew it. As a famous individual observed, the brush in the hand of a great painter is just incidental.
#EverydayGiving: How to Kick-Start this Cycle
Psychologists say doing something continually for 14 days helps retrain the brain to set a pattern. So, here are seven magnificent ideas to help you get in the swing of “Everyday” Giving:
Your family or corporation can give every time they shop on Amazon. Smile.Amazon.com claims it has already given $145M+ to charities who register themselves on their web “smile” microsite. All shoppers have to do is to bookmark smile.amazon.com on their browser and set it to their favorite charity. Mine, for example, is Pratham USA. So, any time you are feeling indulgent and are ready to splurge, you have the opportunity to give back to your favorite charity. This makes a large powerful corporation support your causes with your patronage, every time you click.
You can give every time you order a ride from a ride sharing app! Lyft has a feature called “Roundup and Donate”. It’s a simple 3-second process where you can go to your settings and choose a cause among the charities listed. So, with every Lyft you take, you are uplifting someone, somewhere, all the time. These little round ups accumulate across tens of millions of ride-shares that happen every day. Let’s hope we can extend this idea to Ubereats, Postmates, and other apps.
I am notoriously late for most meetings and I love hating that habit. So, we came up with a simple process at the office where we give every time someone is late to a meeting. At WealthEngine, we have a generosity jar for $1/minute for every executive or employee who is late. We then take the accumulated money and award it back to the individual who has been the most tardy (sometimes matched by the corporation), who can then donate it to their preferred cause. We always acknowledge them by saying, “thank you for being tardy, we love your generosity!”
How about every time we hit “reply all”? There is a company email program that charges for every ‘reply all’ that is meaningless like “thx!” Or “+1” or “?”— trivial interactions that society must benefit from. You can extend this analogy to every moment someone tweets, posts on Facebook, or is active on Instagram.
5. Corporate Matching
Corporations like Salesforce give millions through their 1% pledge. There are also tons of other organizations such as WealthEngine, TOMS, and (RED) with similar movements. One way to take this further is by getting a commitment from every internal promotion, transfer, or hire. There is a socially conscious and responsible 1% given to the individual’s favorite passion.
How many times have you gotten a bill or a check in your mailbox that was $0.19 and you scratched your head thinking if compliance is not withstanding, why would a bank spend more dollars to let me know that I have $0.19 in an account that I never plan to return to? So, New WealthTech companies like Acorn attract the largest spenders in the economy—millennials. Not only are they asking for your spare change to invest (as little as $1), but they will also plant a tree every time you refer your friends who are environmentally conscious. Every time you open or close a bank account you should be able to donate to your favorite cause or charity. The power to leverage one’s networks to fuel the virtuous cycle of Learn-earn-save-give-spend-and-repeat, is a remarkable way to create a socially conscious giving culture.
7. Asset Buying/Selling
For the affluent, every time we buy, sell, stock, or trade our securities, every brokerage house should have a “Donate to the nearest $1000” option. So, if you sell $958 dollars of stock, $32 should go to the charity of your choice. With over $1.6T being traded daily, this could add up to a lot of charity dollars! You can extend this concept into when you sell or buy a house, and one time a year when you fill out the tax-form or renew your license every few years.
You all get the idea now— and I am sure as our community of readers, you have more ideas that can start the chain of #EverydayGiving to make it the hashtag of the year!
Giving USA 2019 research notes that over $427B dollars gets raised every year, growing roughly at about 2% and never over our 2% as a percentage of GDP. It’s a shockingly large number given that ~70% of that are individual donors and the remaining are corporations and foundations. What is even more shocking is that for every $100 raised, only $4 is retained by that charity or nonprofit. The new donors added to the ‘giving tree’ across the United States was roughly 86,000 new donors across a population of 325M living in about 180M households. Just a 1% change in behavior across these households in everyday living, can change the needle of giving and turbo-charge the virtuous cycle.
Our famed data scientists at our WELabs tell me that our data and models suggest that if we just enabled these seven magnificent ideas and believed a $20/month across 180M households and adjusted for inflation and cyclical spike in spends for #BackToSchool, #Christmas, #Thanksgiving spends, that we can drive upwards of $6 trillion annualized dollars for #EverydayGiving! As they say: a penny saved is a penny earned!
That is the power of the collective subconscious! So, let’s start making a habit of giving every day.