"I'll do it, but only if you'll help"


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GB United Kingdom


About the project Edit

PledgeBank is a website that allows people to say "I'll do X it if other people will do X as well". Such public commitments are a non-coercive way to solve problems of collective action, especially when the goal is a public good. PledgeBank was founded by mySociety and went live June 13, 2005. The site is based on the premise that lots of good things don't happen because there aren't enough organised people to do them. Examples of pledge are : ‘I will start recycling if 100 people in my town will do the same'; 'I will organise my child's school play if 3 other parents will help'; 'I will build a useful website if 1000 people promise to contribute to it'. British Prime Minister Tony Blair started a pledge himself, to become patron of a community sports club if 100 notable figures will do the same, which succeeded.

PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form 'I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it'. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. Two outcomes are possible – either the pledge fails to get enough subscribers before it expires (in which case, we contact everyone and tell them 'better luck next time'), or, the better possibility, the pledge attracts enough people that they are all sent a message saying 'Well done—now get going!'

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Pledgebank is a creative way to bring social change by encouraging people to take actions collectively.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

PledgeBank is based on a psychological bet. The founders believe that if a person possesses a slight desire to do something, and then get connected to a bunch of people who also want to do the same thing, then that first person is much more likely to act. They have some success stories for a variety of pledges from the site, and theyy have also surveyed many of the money-based pledges that have succeeded, and found that payment rates vary from 50% to well over 150%, with three-quarters of people paying being typical.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Though hosted/run by a UK-based nonprofit, PledgeBank has been translated by volunteers into 12 languages in addition to English. The Omidyar Network has funded outreach efforts for PledgeBank in the U.S. Pledges in the U.S. have been created to bolster individual efforts, such as saving books from landfills and donating blood, and organizational efforts, such as raising money for an intern and presidential campaigning.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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