Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Founder’s Pledge: Effective Philanthropy

Behavioural science can be used very impactfully to funnel money from the very wealthy to those who need it most. Founder’s Pledge know this all too well; this great little organisation encourages tech company founders to pledge a chosen percentage of their exit proceeds (the sum they make when they eventually sell their company) to a charity of their choice. They have now created a lively, global community of philanthropic tech founders.

Why is this effective? Founder’s Pledge have clearly leveraged two key behavioural tactics; social
influence and commitment. In a community, such as that created by Founder’s Pledge, those who
signal that they donate to charity are held in high regard by their peers (Muehleman et al, 1976;
Wiepking, 2008). This is especially important in a setting where social status can increase the
value of the tech start-up. Founder’s Pledge have also made use of a commitment to ensure
that the founders donate. Commitments are incredibly effective; they are long-lasting because
we want others to view us as consistent (Cialdini, 2001).



Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

Muehleman, J., Bruker, C., & Ingram, C. (1976). The Generosity Shift. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 34(3), 344-351.  

Wiepking, P. (2008). For the Love of Mankind. A Sociological Study on Charitable Giving.
PhD Dissertation Department of Philanthropic Studies, VU University Amsterdam:
Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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