Make a Pledge Work for You

Dear Engaged Bystander: I am always intrigued with ways that we can get ourselves to change. Each of us have our own ways to do that, but how do we begin to connect individual commitments into community change?

In my own "checkered past" I receoved an MBA, so I was tickled to read about this relatively new website and novel approach on was formed by combining personal experience and scholarly research. Dean Karlan (Economics Professor at Yale and Co-Founder of stickK) came up with the idea of opening an online 'Commitment Store'.

He envisioned that people would come to the Commitment Store to sign contracts obliging them to achieve their personal goals such as losing weight or quitting smoking. Dean experimented this concept by making contracts himself (click here to read his personal weight loss story). Meanwhile, he also conducted and published research* on Commitment Contracts as a tool for helping people save money.

The Commitment Contract concept is based on two well known principles of behavioral economics:
1.People don't always do what they claim they want to do, and
2.Incentives get people to do things

stickK provides an open forum for people to make their commitments, share those commitments with friends and also align that pledge with a favorite nonprofit.

Now imagine if everybody in your community made a pledge to say something or do something each week. Imagine how that might change your school, your neighborhood, your bus stop, your church or whatever community you are a part of.