What we're reading: Keith's key takeways from Atomic Habits by James Clear

12 Jan 2022

How to create good habits to hit your fundraising goals this year

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Understanding how to try to create good habits is common in a new year and something we can all relate to. Prior to the new year, I read Atomic Habits by James Clear which is about making small changes to achieve remarkable results.

Here’s my three key takeaways:

  • The four laws of habit can drive action
  • Small changes make a big difference
  • Our tribe reinforces our good behaviours

The four laws of habits can drive action

“The four laws of habits can relate to how we think about our supporters and are essential aspects that drive change, action and consistent good habits:

  • 1st law is Cue: Make it obvious
  • 2nd law is Craving: Make it attractive
  • 3rd law is Response: Make it easy
  • 4th law is Reward: Make it satisfying

An example of this could be: 

  1. you smell a doughnut, 
  2. you begin to crave a doughnut, 
  3. you buy a doughnut, 
  4. you satisfy your craving by eating the doughnut.

Dopamine levels are hit independently across each law, they get a stronger pattern the fourth time we experience all laws together, showing a spike in dopamine in the craving and reward phase, where dopamine only exists on the reward law the first time.”

Here’s some fundraising examples in action:

Cue: Triggered email, a social ad, or a friend invites you to take part

Craving: Visual of a vibrant and immersive hero image on a webpage

Response: Simple and easy way to sign up with a clear call to action

Reward: Celebratory milestone badges (first donation, first 5k)

Small changes make a big difference

“The changes we make can compound every day over a year. For example, if you got 1% better each day for 365 days you would be 37.78 times better. Imagine that! Another way of approaching change is to make 100 things 1% better, rather than focussing on trying to make one thing 100% better."

To get 1% better, how about testing going back to your incomplete registrations to increase your event sign ups?

Our tribe reinforces our good behaviours

“Our identity and whom we identify with drives the habits, actions and decisions we make. A study showed we are 57% more likely to do something if we identify with the tribe and it gets higher the closer we are to the tribe.

The key here is helping ourselves or our audience identify with something they crave.”

To create or tap into a tribe, why not give your supporters suggested emails in their dashboards, or bring your community together with a leaderboard?

New habits you can try

Keeping your goals for 2022 in mind, what new habits will bring you closer to them?

  • How can you create new routines for your team and your supporters?
  • What small changes can you make that will have a big impact?
  • How can you create or tap into a tribe to make those changes happen?


Here are some of our team’s top recommendations for good habits to adopt in 2022.

Do the basics brilliantly

“Make sure you track and optimise:

  • Your mobile experience
  • Your calls to action
  • Site visits to converted transactions/revenue
  • Sign up completion conversion
  • Page creation conversion from sign up
  • Self donation
  • Page editing (profile pic)
  • Shared page
  • Invited friends
  • Celebrate and recognise achievements (supporter journeys)
  • Tracking who is achieving target or not and supporting people who are not”

- Keith, Chief Operating Officer

Know your event experience

“Always make sure the event lead and other team members have registered for the event and have live fundraising pages. That way, they're on the same journey as their supporters. So they can see everything their supporters see. Or try setting up focus groups / questionnaire post-event to get feedback to evolve the event.”
- Alice, Customer Support and Success Manager

Track what's important

“Set up your reports before you start your event, to ensure you’re capturing what you need for each team - i.e. finance, fundraising”
- Rachel, Senior Partnerships Manager

What new habit will you try to hit your fundraising goals this year?

Tag us and let us know on social media, or drop a comment below.


Keith Williams
Keith Williams
Chief Operating Officer
Funraisin, UK team.


Keith's career in technology, has mostly been focused on his passion and obsession to connecting people with experiences and impact that matter, and has lead some of the largest social giving platforms, event registration platforms the world has seen. He now focuses his time supporting and leading the next generation platforms for giving

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