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UBC-DIBS Behavioural Insights Seminar f. Dr. Jeremy Gretton (Jan 13)

BIT partnered with a couple of Ontario non-profits on a successful trial, but found different results when scaling […]

UBC-DIBS Behavioural Insights Seminar

Friday, Jan. 13, 10-11am PT
Register to attend on Zoom at

Reaching Nonprofit Program Participants: Developing More Effective Tools by Learning What Doesn’t Work
Jeremy Gretton

BIT Canada

In this project, BIT partnered with the United Way Halton and Hamilton and Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre in order to encourage uptake of a free tax-filing service. Our first trial in 2020 tested a behaviourally-informed email encouraging people to sign up. The email performed well. Building on these results, we wondered if applying the same behavioural principles to direct mail (letters) might help reach an even broader set of potential beneficiaries. When we conducted a randomized controlled trial with around 15,000 Halton residents, however, we found that direct mail letters did not have an effect. Though the result was statistically non-significant, the experience of running the trial – and the results themselves – offer significant insights.

The UBC-DIBS Behavioural Insights Seminar series features researchers and practitioners sharing their field and lab projects using the behavioural and decision sciences to “nudge for good”. To subscribe or unsubscribe, email

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