How Teach for M’sia used behavioural science to double donations

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When it comes to advertising and marketing, it’s the elements that are most overlooked that can make the biggest difference.

Naga Behavioral Lab saw this firsthand with Teach For Malaysia. Teach For Malaysia is an independent, not-for-profit organization with a mission to end education inequality in Malaysia.

As a non-profit, Teach For Malaysia relies on donors but according to Caryl Heah, Head of Marketing at Teach For Malaysia, “in order to get donations we’ve been finding that we have to spend more money, which is not ideal for us.”

This persistent problem led Teach For Malaysia to partner with Naga Behavioral Lab – Malaysia’s first behavioral science consultancy – to unearth a more efficient solution for their next donation campaign.

The goal was to grow recurring donations without requiring huge marketing spends.
To tackle this challenge, Naga Behavioral Lab concentrated on the touchpoint through which Teach For Malaysia draws most of their donations – their website.

While Teach For Malaysia’s campaigns consistently drove interest in the organization and traffic to their site, interest alone wasn’t converting into enough recurring donations.

Josephine Phang, Behavioral Strategy Director of Naga Behavioral Lab, explains, “Although their donation page was designed to the best UI/UX practices, it hadn’t been crafted with enough attention to how people are hardwired to behave. It was functional, easy to navigate and pleasing to look at, but there were elements on the page that were subconsciously detracting people from donating.”

She elaborates, “For example, the page suggested amounts for people to donate – which is great – but the trouble was, these options varied from RM50 all the way up to RM1000.

“Suggesting options so far apart in range meant that people had to put in extra effort to figure out what a ‘good’ amount to give is… so most would rather not give at all. These things are easily overlooked, but they matter.”

“Since Teach For Malaysia’s donation campaign was sure to drive website visits, it’s critical that their donation page is psychologically designed to convert these visitors into recurring donors,” says Phang.

To achieve this, Naga Behavioral Lab redesigned their donation page based on five behavioral science principles:
⦁ Anchor the donation amounts suggested to people
⦁ Present a default option, which eliminates mental effort
⦁ Provide social proof to create the feeling of momentum
⦁ Use the endowed progress effect to demonstrate impact
⦁ Prime people with specific images to evoke emotional engagement

The results were immediately impactful. Together, Teach For Malaysia and Naga Behavioral Lab grew recurring donations by 106%.

By simply understanding how people are programmed to behave and redesigning Teach For Malaysia’s donation page according to these small nuances, Naga Behavioral Lab helped to ensure that Teach For Malaysia’s donation campaign was a success.

“It’s a relatively simple solution, and Naga Behavioral Lab has given us a fresh perspective on approaching the problem we faced. The results we saw were great and we’re excited to see how else behavioral science can help us in the future,” says Caryl Heah, Head of Marketing at Teach for Malaysia.

“At Naga DDB Tribal, we’re constantly evolving our Planning product, and we launched Naga Behavioral Lab with the intention to help marketers solve long-standing problems that traditional communications alone can’t, so we’re really happy that marketers like Caryl are so enthusiastic about what we do,” said Phang.

“Behavioral science at its core is about ‘hacking’ consumer behavior. This is just one example, and today behavioral science is being applied around the world to solve all sorts of commercial challenges in every industry. We’re very excited that Malaysian marketers now have access to such a valuable practice through Naga Behavioral Lab,” she adds.

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