Book-campaign in Norway - The plan and a request for input

post by Jorgen_Ljones · 2015-04-07T00:45:08.879Z · EA · GW · Legacy · 2 comments

Norway is a country with short social distances between the common man and people with influence and power. We think there is a good chance to successfully reach out to these people by just contacting them directly. The release of Singers new book could be an excellent opportunity to try out this strategy.

People we have on our list of potential book receivers so far include philanthropists, journalists, young leaders, politicians, appropriate NGO leaders, academics and other prominent people often in the media who have a large audience. We hope that by reading the book and learning about us we could achieve an impact through their money, position, network and audience. The gain of influencing such people could be very large, and despite a low chance of success, even making the total ROI large enough.

After deciding who to send to, we will write a personalized cover letter and include it in a package with the book and send it by post. The marginal cost will be around 32 $ for the book plus postage. The marginal time spent will also be quite small, though, as we need to plan it all and may be do some follow up of every receiver.


This is of course a cold outreach campaign where they will get a book and letter from an organization they probably never have heard of before with a quite unusual message. We really don't have any idea if this will work, but we think that there is a reasonable chance of getting through to someone. Bur may be there is something we can do to increase our chances? Should we do a kind of outreach before we send the book to them? Is there a good way to warm them up first? Or is the surprise of getting an unexpected gift in the mail a good thing we do not want to ruin?

What about follow ups? When should we contact them again to see if they have read the book or if they got interested? Should we explicitly write something in the cover letter that indicate if we want them to contact us, or that we will contact them? 

One last question is how many we should send to in the first stage. There should be enough so that at least one or two receivers actually get influenced. But we do not want to use too much resources before we can usefully evaluate the initial results and decide if the campaign is worth doing. We also want to be ready and able to follow up on every feedback given by the receivers so we can capitalize 

We don't have much relevant experience about this and we very much would like to get input from anyone who have done something similar or have other useful tips or ideas.


Thank you

- Jørgen Ljønes
EA NTNU, Norway

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comment by tomstocker · 2015-04-14T15:18:55.500Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Here's a really easy to read summary of the behavioural literature's tested findings.

EAST - behavioural insights team

EAST as applied to chartiable giving as an example

Presumably if you've identified them, then you can personalise them quite easily?

If so, in my humble opinion, might be an idea to start with a smaller first tranche to learn from, and personalise them to attract attention. Might want to prime them first by sending a letter saying they've been identified as a high impact person because of x, and we would love to give you a free copy of x, please log on online to decline if you decide that this won't be useful. Then with the actual report say something along the lines of 'thank you for opting in to get the book + some message of sincere excitement' ?

comment by Niel_Bowerman2 · 2015-04-08T08:37:55.518Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi Jorgen, Great to hear that you guys are planning this. I'd be happy to chat with you about it sometime, and offer some thoughts. My availability is here: calendly.com/niel-bowerman/2 You should also talk with Chris Jenkins (chris@centreforeffectivealtruism.org) if you are considering doing a bulk order.
Looking forward to speaking.
Niel