ideas42 Behavioral Design Center Expands to Help More Non-Profits Adapt Service Provision During COVID-19

New funding supports unique center’s track record of success, bringing direct assistance to more New York non-profits, ability to expand nationally for first time

NEW YORK, April 6, 2021— Behavioral design non-profit ideas42 today announced a renewal of its novel New York City Behavioral Design Center (BDC) thanks to funding from The New York Community Trust and the Pinkerton Foundation, as well as its first expansion to a national audience thanks to new funding from Fidelity Charitable. This renewal follows another successful year providing hands-on workshops, direct coaching, and project assistance to NYC non-profits at no cost during a time of crisis for service providers in the wake of COVID-19. The new expansion will see the BDC offer its approach to bringing behavioral insights and strategies for improving service provision to non-profits outside of New York City for the first time. 

Since 2018, the BDC has guided non-profit practitioners and program managers through applying insights and techniques from behavioral science–the study of how people make decisions and take action in the real world–to increase the utilization of their services and improve outcomes for more New Yorkers. To date, the BDC has partnered with 16 non-profits in New York City to apply behavioral insights to their programs, services, and communications. 

Part of ideas42’s Economic Justice work, the BDC places a particular focus on assisting organizations with solutions designed to help alleviate poverty and enhance civic engagement in their communities. This work takes the form of in-depth capacity-building workshops to introduce staff to applying behavioral insights in their own work and individual ‘office hours’ with BDC experts, as well  as more in-depth partnerships to redesign specific programs, services, or communications. Crucially, over the last year the BDC has worked to support often resource-constrained organizations adapt their service delivery and programs to new challenges presented by COVID-19. 

Non-profit organizations are adapting quickly to meet changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In such a fraught time, solutions that make it easier for those delivering services to effectively reach and serve those who need it is more critical than ever,” said Laura Wolff, Director of the Behavioral Design Center at ideas42. Often simply redesigning communications and program processes with human behavior in mind can be the catalyst for individuals to truly benefit from a program, and utilize its services to achieve their own goals. At the BDC, we’ve worked for years to make the benefits of behavioral design more accessible to non-profits, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to offer this support to more organizations in the future.” 

The first behavioral design projects made possible by the new funding will address two problems exacerbated by COVID-19: social isolation among older adults, and housing insecurity among low-income tenants. The BDC is designing strategies to increase older adults’ participation in remote activities with University Settlement, and developing a client survey for an eviction prevention program with Enterprise.

These new projects join the most recent cohort of BDC non-profit partners focused on a variety of ways of bringing valuable public benefits and human services to New Yorkers during the height of the pandemic crisis:

The BDC is also expanding its popular and impactful capacity-building workshop series, previously only available to staff of New York City non-profits, to a wide range of organizations across the country. Thanks to support from Fidelity Charitable, more community organizations and service providers will be eligible to attend new virtual workshops to learn about and leverage behavioral insights in their own day-to-day work. 

New York City non-profits interested in applying behavioral insights to their work can sign up for a free office hour with a member of the BDC team, or learn about requesting project assistance here

More information about the Behavioral Design Center can be found here, and interested non-profits can sign up for the NYC listserv or the new national listserv to receive updates on future opportunities.

About ideas42

ideas42’s mission is to use the power of behavioral science to design scalable solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems. ideas42 grew out of research programs in psychology and economics at top academic institutions, and its work draws on decades of experimental scientific research. ideas42 uses these insights to design scalable ways to improve programs, policies and products in the real world. ideas42 works with a wide range of partners, from leading foundations and non-profit organizations, to government bodies and businesses. In short, anyone who wants to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives.

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