Announcement

New research shows a nudge helps people develop the tools to build the Big Society

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A nudge in the right direction and tailored feedback from councillors and members of voluntary groups, increases people’s willingness to get…

A nudge in the right direction and tailored feedback from councillors and members of voluntary groups, increases people’s willingness to get involved in their neighbourhoods and help build the Big Society.

New research from the universities of Manchester and Southampton suggests people are more likely to get involved in local community activities such as increasing recycling or through measures such as recycling and volunteering, if they get feedback on what a difference their contribution can and will make.

Individuals making a difference

The university findings confirm what many, such as Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark have long suspected - that individuals can make a major difference to their community given the right opportunity and that a nudge from their local council or volunteer group can be the key to success.

Findings from the research include:

  • door-to-door canvassing by a local social enterprise led to a 10 per cent increase in kerbside recycling
  • provision of tailored information about organ donation resulted in a 17 per cent increase in registered donors
  • book donations to set up school libraries in South Africa going up by 22 per cent as a result of the names of donors being displayed in the local drop off points.

Welcoming the findings, Minister for Decentralisation, Greg Clark, said:

This research confirms my fundamental belief that people are perfectly willing and able to take the lead in transforming their neighbourhoods; and the more they take pride in the places they live, the more they want to contribute. The old fashioned use of rules, instructions and directions often fails, whereas helping people to do the things they want to succeeds. I welcome the work by Manchester and Southampton Universities - it shows that citizens together can create the Big Society.

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