Wikimedia Fundraising/2018-19 Report - Meta
Addressing the Social Proof Question The online fundraising team often receives questions and comments about the use of negative social proof in our fundraising messages. Social proof is the phenomenon that people are prone to copy the actions of others; for example, if an individual is exposed to a group of people doing or buying something, they are more likely to do so themselves. One of the most recognizable phrases in our fundraising banners takes the opposite approach, stating: “... fewer than 1% of readers give.” and/or “... 99% of readers don’t give.” The online fundraising team has tested, dozens of times, removing this fact from our materials. Our donation rate drops when we try. This past year we engaged with some experts in the field and asked them to explore further why we consistently see this finding. Is there something about a non-profit or a donation context that alters the rules of social proof? We plan on continuing to conduct tests this coming year in hopes of finding conclusions around the fundraising and non-profit context of social proof.