Skip to main content

Do You Have Too Many Facebook Friends to Be Generous to Causes?

You, you’ve got thousands of followers on Twitter, hundreds of Facebook friends and an enviable Klout score as a result. And, according to some early research from Professor Kimberley Scharf at the University of Warwick in the UK, you’re probably a selfish SOB when it comes to donating to charities!

Scharf’s thinking is highlighted in her theoretical research paper, “Private Provision of Public Goods and Information Diffusion in Social Groups.” Scharf is an economist at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy.

“Information transmission about giving opportunities is undermined by free-riding incentives,” Scharf said in a press account. “I count on other neighbours to convey information and so save on the effort of doing it myself,” she said. “As well as relying on others to pass on information, it may also be true that people are even relying on others to donate.”

In economics a free-rider is someone who receives benefits from an activity, but doesn’t have to pay for it. Someone who sneaks into a movie theater or concert venue without paying is a free-rider. So, too, is the person who takes an apple off someone else's tree.

Scharf's paper “describes a social proximity-based mechanism of information transmission in groups of individuals who consume a pure public good. In the mechanism we study, information about quality for alternative modes of provision of a public good can spread from one individual to the next just as it does for private goods.”

“However, unlike in the case of private goods, better informed individuals face positive incentives to incur private costs in order to transmit information to their less informed neighbours, because this can bring about an increase in collective provision, the benefits of which they partake in.”

“In this setting, the sharing of information has the characteristics of a local public good that is confined within individual social neighbourhoods, even when voluntary contributions fund the provision of a pure public good that spans all neighbourhoods."

“Thus, incentives to engage in costly fundraising are stronger when social neighbourhoods are smaller; consequently, large societies composed of comparatively small social neighbourhoods can sustain comparatively higher levels of private provision of collective goods,” Scharf writes in the paper’s introduction.

What are the implications of Scharf’s theory for cause marketers and fundraisers?

One of them might be to think hard about courting those people who are the connectors of the broadest sort. It could be that they’re too connected with everyone else to really connect with your cause in a meaningful way. For me this really rings true in big cities where you might be able to get people to one of your events, but you might not be able to get them to actually care about your cause.

Scharf's introduction suggests a second implication; moving from broadcasting to narrowcasting. When the ‘neighborhood’ as she calls the social network is small, there’s greater onus on you to be the helping hand. If my next-door neighbor asks for a favor, I’ve far more likely to grant it than I am to the neighbor who lives only a block away and far more likely to grant that favor than I am to the neighbor who lives a mile away. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.


Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Cause-Related Marketing Meets Microfinance

Kiva.org and Advanta.com Mix it Up

You’d have had to have been in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the last year or so to have missed the run up of microfinance. Between 2004 and 2006 more than $4 billion of capital flowed into microfinance institutions. All told experts say the total loan microfinance loan portfolio may be as much as $12.5 billion. And of course the father of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Microfinance is now so respectable, so effective, (so profitable!) that it’s already enjoying its first global backlash.

Actually that first sentence is hyperbole. Because even in Ulaanbaatar… far from almost anywhere on the vast, frigid steppes of Mongolia… microfinance is thriving such that the earliest recipients of micro loans there are now complaining about taxes and government bureaucracy! And May 29-31, 2008 the Conference of Microfinance Institutions will convene in Ulaanbaatar, the eleventh such annual conference.
Now Advanta, a credit card issuer to small…

Cause Marketing Beer with BOGO, Brew One Give One

On Monday’s post I touched on the topic of telling people what your cause marketing campaign accomplished when completed. I’ve recommended this approach to clients as a way to keep open the lines of communication with customers and clients and to get extra value from the campaign.

In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

But what if that really cuts across the grain in your organization? What if it’s just not in your corporate DNA to do anything but to frontload your cause marketing activation? Well, then, add the report back to the activation of your next cause marketing effort.

New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colorado, said to be the seventh largest brewery in the United States, did just that with this ad in Sunset magazine. I found this ad in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database.

New Belgium donates $1 for every barrel it brews and sells. It’s a BOGO cause marketing effort, Buy One Give One. …