Fewer choices – better results?

7 09 2009

Someone has at last had the sense to apply psychology – specifically a controversial social psychologist – to help people choose a charity. The result is at Guidestar’s shiny new Giving Formula.

Instead of offering a list of all (20?) types of charity, there’s a simple four-way split between “Personal”, “Emotional”, “Social” and “Environmental”.

The truth is that those aren’t the right four words to describe what they represent (a spot of user research could fix that), but what I like is the fact that they are meta-categories, namely: health & medical; arts & music; poverty & rights; environment & animals.

Guidestar is challenging the common assumption that most donors know precisely which cause they want to support. Trying to distil their choices into four high-level groups is a canny step forward. The Formula is not perfect, but I like what it’s trying to do.

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