Promise or Pay has… great promise

promiseorpayHow long do your New Year’s resolutions typically last? Promise or Pay is setting out to put some backbone into our goals and raise money for charity.

Promise or Pay is a newly launched, Sydney-based social platform which helps people achieve their personal goals, and at the same time generates money for Australian charities. Promise or Pay is based on behavioural research, which shows that chance of achieving a goal increases by 33% if it is shared with others and by up to 72% if money is put on the line. Promise or Pay combines these two approaches to help people stick to their goals by donating money to charity if they don’t follow through with them, and encouraging others to donate if they succeed.

This is a cool scaleable idea – the wort of thing that’s only possible by leveraging the technology and the social aspects of the Internet. Others have been quick to pick up on the potential of this simple idea to help reinvigorate charitable giving and engage people not previously inclined to donating: Promise or Pay has won the Social Startups MVP Program, a worldwide competition based on social impact scalability. It was also finalist for the Sydney Genesis Best Social Start-up, received an honourable mention in The Guardian’s Activate Tech Talent Day, and completed the selective and award-wining INCUBATE Accelerator Program. In mid-November 2014 Promise or Pay won the Deloitte Australia Social Innovation Pitch Competition. As you can see, Promise or Pay’s founder, Jay Boolkin, has been very busy.

Promise or Pay couldn’t be simpler to use. So if you’re thinking about giving up smoking, going to the gym, or any other promise you know you’re going to struggle to keep, and doing good at the same time, head on over to

This is an all-round great idea. Everyone wins, you keep achieve your goals and either way Australian charities get donations. My only concern with the whole thing is that the donation to charity for failing to meet your goal might give people a feeling that it’s OK to fail because their failure is going to a good cause. I wonder if they might not be even more incentivised to carry through on their promise if their money was going to a random undeserving person!

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