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Increasing Voluntary Support for NACD

Center for Behavioral and Experimental Agri-Environmental Policy Research

Increasing Voluntary Support for NACD

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) is funded by voluntary contributions from its member Conservation Districts. These contributions are used to provide districts with representation at the national level. Despite these collective benefits, not every district contributes the suggested annual contribution amount, and many do not contribute at all.

Drawing on insights from the behavioral sciences and evidence from the field of charitable giving, CBEAR and NACD are testing different outreach techniques. They aim to encourage greater financial participation among the 3,000 conservation districts. Each year, CBEAR tests a behaviorally enhanced “treatment” letter compared to the status quo “control” letter that NACD usually sends out. The treatment letter is sent out to randomly selected districts.

In one year, the treatment letter from CBEAR:

  • Streamlined the NACD accomplishment newsletter
  • Made a salient ‘ask’
  • Made social comparisons between districts
  • Emphasized a target contribution
  • Publicly thanked contributors
  • Set national contribution goals

Our results show that contribution amounts from districts increased between 5% and 10%, which could result in significant increases in fundraising for NACD if scaled up across all districts.

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