The surprising truth about what motivates us (and how this could benefit your charity)

Michaela Lindroth
Copywriter
3
Min to read

Motivation is a powerful concept. It is a fundamental part of human nature, and what at the end of the day drives us to make one thing rather than something else, or not at all. But what is it that actually drives us?  

In his book, Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink digs deep into that very question using a study that was conducted on the topic of motivation which reached a conclusion that might surprise you (it certainly surprised the people conducting it).  

It turned out us humans might not be as predictable as we may seem. Organisation should pay attention here, because if there was ever a convincing argument for the power of online fundraising - specifically P2P fundraising - this might just be it.  

What does not motivates us

In his book, Pink describes a study conducted on human motivation (Named Large Stakes and Big Mistakes), which was carried out by three of the most prominent research universities in the US. What they found was quite different from what anyone could have expected.

The test they carried out went something like this. They took a group of MIT students (later they replicated the study in India with the same results) and had them perform different tasks. If they did well they were rewarded with the theory that the higher the monetary reward the better the performance would be. Logical, right? Here is where it gets interesting. It turned out that this was only the case when the tasks were extremely trivial (e.g. memorising numbers).

However, when the task required even the most rudimentary cognitive skills it was in fact the other way around; a higher monetary reward did in fact lead to a worse performance.  

What motivates us

The overall conclusion here seems to be money can only take you so far. So then what does? In his book, Pink instead identifies three key concepts that seems to answer just that question.

Autonomy is the first concept. It refers to our drive to be self-directed, to be in control of what we do and to make our own decisions. If it is engagement that is sought after then self-direction beats micromanagement. Not only does it lead to engagement, it has also been found to foster creativity in ways that performance bonuses cannot.

Mastery is the second thing that drives us and this is an interesting concept. Ultimately it is a concept that can help explain a question that common rational economic principles cannot, namely, why do we do something if it is not for profit? The answer is we do it because in mastery there is satisfaction.

Purpose is the final thing that incentivise us. We are not profit maximisers as much as we are purpose maximizers. If we feel we are working for a good cause that is when we will be the most motivated to do incredible things.

How this applies to P2P fundraising

So how does this related back to fundraising? Well, if you give people the freedom to do what they like, the ability to get better at it and a purpose that is all they need to come through for your organisation. The purpose is already taken care of, that is why people donate money to you in the first place, because you make them feel connected to your cause, but imagine what could happen if you could give them all three.

P2P Fundraising does just this. It give your supporters the autonomy to work on their own and the potential to development skills that will give them satisfaction.

Creating your own fundraising page means you are in controle of how you will fundraise. Your supporters can follow the result in real time, see what works and what doesn't work. This instant feedback cycle can powers rapid learning.

Treating them as partners who help your causes wil make them come back for more. The good thing is that there is a ton of motivation out in the world, it is just a question of how to unlock it, and when it comes to fundraising that is exactly where BetterNow is at your service.

Back to Education Centar

Become a P2P expert,
Sign up for our newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Virtual P2P Fundraising

Download and learn both the basics and more advanced methods behind running a successful virtual event

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

P2P Fundraising Community

Download the free guide nd learn how to build a P2P fundraising community.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

A successful P2P Fundraising stewardship journey

Download the free guide and learn how to deisgn and build amazing P2P fundraising stewardship journeys

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Fundraisers Delight

Download the free guide and see how BetterNow customers delight and support their fundraisers.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.