Teach For Malaysia sees jump in recurring donations using behavioural science

Non-profit organisation Teach For Malaysia has claimed that it has seen 106% increase in recurring donations by delving into behavioural science. Previously, while it managed to drive consistent interest in its mission and drive traffic to its site, Teach for Malaysia found that interest alone was not enough to convert consumers into recurring donors.

As such, it worked with Naga DDB Tribal’s behavioral science consultancy, Naga Behavioral Lab, to redesign their donation page based on five behavioural principles. The ultimate goal was for Teach For Malaysia to grow recurring donations without requiring huge marketing spends.

The five principles were anchor the donation amounts suggested to consumers; 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; and prime individuals with specific images to evoke emotional engagement. According to Teach For Malaysia, the results were “immediately impactful” and its donation campaign benefited by understanding how individuals are programmed to behave and redesigning the donation page.

Caryl Heah, head of marketing at Teach For Malaysia, said previously, it had to spend more money in order to get donations, which was “not ideal”. However, behavioural science was a relatively simple solution for Teach For Malaysia and Naga Behavioural Lab was able to provide it with a fresh perspective. “The results we saw were great and we’re excited to see how else behavioral science can help us in the future,” she added.

Josephine Phang, behavioural strategy director of Naga Behavioural Lab, said that although Teach For Malaysia’s donation page was designed to the best UI/UX practices, it was not crafted with enough attention as to how individuals are hardwired to behave. While it was functional, easy to navigate and pleasing to look at, there were elements on the page that were subconsciously detracting individuals from donating, Phang said.

For example, the page suggested amounts for people to donate but the trouble was, these options varied from RM50 all the way up to RM1,000, Phang said. 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, she explained. While such aspects are easily overlooked, she added that 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,” Phang said.

The agency launched its behavioural lab in March this year, focusing on behavioural science to help clients influence consumers without the need for big marketing budgets. CEO Kristian Lee told A+M previously that the new offering is part of an “exciting push” by the agency to evolve and improve its strategic consultancy capabilities. The team is of the view that agencies should aim to address more holistic aspects of a marketer’s challenges that advertising by itself cannot solve.