What’s trending now?
Consumers are increasingly demanding ‘something’ in exchange for doing anything at all.
People have come to expect free gifts or juicy discounts in exchange for simply ‘liking’ a Facebook group… And much, much more for doing anything that requires actual effort, work or money.
Why it’s important?
Virtue is no longer its own reward.
Charities around the world have long understood the importance of the incentive when it comes to collecting donations and recruiting volunteers. In the past the incentive to donate to a charity was often directly related to vanity, and came in the form of invitations to exclusive dinners or a framed certificate to put on the wall. Today though, with so many voices competing for share of wallet and time, non-profit organisations have become more creative in their offerings.
The “Gaming for good” or ‘Playsourcing” phenomenon; whereby players fulfil a social responsibility as a ‘side effect’ of the game they are enjoying; is a good example of a more modern consumer incentive: Fun.
For example, Zynga (the creators of Farmville) incorporated limited-edition in-game goods in its games that benefited its real-world Haiti Relief Fund. Then there’s the Tilt World mobile game, in which players earn points that ‘buy’ real seeds and trees for reforestation efforts in Madagascar, and WeTopia, a Facebook game in which all virtual goods purchased in the game (such as vitamins and water) are donated to a real-world social cause.
Fun isn’t the only motivation charities are employing to stir people’s social conscience. They are also resorting financial rewards to encourage otherwise reluctant members of the public to contribute to the greater good.
The new Cause.it mobile app rewards users with discount vouchers for local businesses in exchange for tweeting about non-profit organisations or participating in real-world social projects. The French websiteCitéGreen also rewards participants with points that are redeemable for freebies and discounts whenever they perform tasks that benefit the environment, such as recycling.
What’s the butterfly effect
Today though, it’s not just non-profits who have to be more creative, and more generous in the tools they use to pay for attention.
Brands, businesses and charities – in short anyone who is in the business of persuading people to part with their money or time – have to embrace the idea of paying people for their time or attention with some sort of tangible incentive or gaming experience.
The pioneers and global hotspots
When it comes to incentivised do-gooding, Recycle Bank has been giving discount coupons to Philadelphia households in exchange for their recycling since 2007.
But it’s not only charities offering incentives these days: The Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York now offers discounts on its cocktail menu whenever the stock market drops.
By: Bronwyn Williams
Bronwyn is an insatiably curious avid reader and an amateur physiologist who takes a keen and amused interest in observing the human condition.
She is constantly astounded at how predictable the world is once one is aware of the underling historical cycles shaping the trends driving our society forward.
Image credit: The World Wide Web