Why reward people for doing things they should be doing anyway?

It’s a question I get a lot. I run a company that rewards people, students mostly, for the good things they do every day (think recycling, taking the bus, or biking instead of taking a car, volunteering, etc.). Why do we reward them? Shouldn’t they be doing these things anyway?

The answer is “Of course, but…”

The environmental benefits of recycling, carrying a reusable water bottle, or commuting by bike are very well established. But even so, knowing what’s right is often not enough to get most of us to make these behaviors a habit.

So, we took a page from marketers, the pro habit-makers. What’s their secret? How do they hook us on a product? It’s actually quite simple: they use games and rewards, and they use them because they work.

However, while most marketers want you to buy more of X no matter what it is they’re promoting, PIPs Rewards LLC (PIPs) only rewards “good,” and we reward it well—with even more “good.” Students who are part of a PIPs program have access to a custom version of the PIPs Rewards™ App (PIPs App). The app tracks and rewards “Positive Impact Points™” (abbrev. PIPs) when the students take verifiable actions benefiting personal and planetary health. Once earned, PIPs can be converted into scholarships and food credits that make a real difference in their lives.

Student success through responsible engagement: that’s the product we’ve developed.

With nearly half of all college students dropping out over unpaid debts of as little as $1,000, and a similar percentage facing some form of food or housing insecurity, there is a real urgency to this moment. PIPs is helping reduce these barriers to success by creating an additional “touchpoint” or connection between a student’s school and life, one that gives agency to those who maintain eco-healthy habits and strive to be better citizens.

In 2020, thousands of student users of the PIPs App took over a half million positive impact actions, unlocked over $45,000 in scholarships, and received nearly as much in food credits. They also saved nearly 300,000 lbs. of carbon, the equivalent of planting 6,250 trees, and re-enrolled at a rate that was 5% greater than their class as a whole.

With PIPs, when students put good in, they get good out in what we like to call a self-nurturing, community-enhancing, planet-protecting 360º cycle of good.

Wendy Gordon
Co-Founder & President, PIPs Rewards LLC
March 9, 2021

Probing behavioral science, PIPs explores questions like: Why reward people for doing things they should do anyway? Learn more: https://pipseducationfund.org/