PledgeBank turns 1

Last week PledgeBank had its first birthday. The basic figures, for those of you interested are:

1863 Pledges, of which

1272 Pledges have failed, and

295 Pledges have been successful.

There are 296 pledges open for signatures right now (and could succeed or fail), and there have been a total of 44585 signatures by 37775 signers.

The other thing we know is that we’ve seen new organisations founded, substantial protests and boycotts organised, and even hair dyed blonde. But it isn’t up to us to say how successful the project has really been: for that we need external evaluation. If you’re interested in producing an independent review of PledgeBank’s effectiveness and value for money, or if you know someone who might be, let us know.


  1. Watching Them, Watching Us

    The ratio of “failed” to “sucessful” pledges seems to be quite high.

    One of the most difficult aspects of setting up a pledge is trying to guess how large to make the target number of signatures, and how far into the future the target date should be set.

    As with stock exchange share flotations, a pledge which misses its target by even a few signatures is reported as a “failure”, one that meets its target exactly is “no news”, and one that exceeds expectations is a “sucess”.

    Is there any chance of some statistics which illustrate, for example, how many pledges would probably have been “sucessful” if they had been open for a week or a month longer ?

    How much feedback has there been from the creators of the pledges to show how well the pledges translated into real life action ?

  2. Yes, the failure ratio is high, but I’m not entirely sure that that’s a bad thing. Part of the reason we believe that the followthrough rate on pledges that succeed is pretty good is that when a pledge succeeds it has a real meaning – it’s no token: it is an achievement that people feel places real peer pressure on them to act.

    This leads on to your question on stats. The only feedback we have yet measured formally was to ask the people who’d created money related pledges how much of the cash they’d expect to get, they had. The answers varied from 50% at the bottom end, to about twice as much as expected at the top, with it averaging out in the 70-80% percent bracket.

    We really like the idea of asking everyone who is part of a successful pledge if they’ve acted, at some point after the pledge succeeds (similar to what happens on, which produces such lovely data). However, we decided we’d wait until PB was a year old until trying to construct such a system – we needed an understanding of how people were using the site first. That first birthday has just happened, so now building a feedback system it is on the agenda, and suggestions for how to make it work best warmly welcomed!

  3. Hi Tom. Intersting stats – two questions for you (since I’m bored and waiting for a plane):

    – Have pledge makers become more successful over time, for example through the increased profile of the site, or the familiarity with the system itself?

    – Are successful pledges clustered around the larger pledges (for example, no2id)?