I’m not going to get into all the aspects of the issue, just wanted to make one point.
To improve success at getting people to do stuff, you need to show them the consequences of their actions. Maybe that sounds obvious, but is it? It needs to be direct, personal, and specific, so that it hits peoples’ hearts and minds. Even if it is (almost) a lie; for example those adopt-a-third-world-child programs. While your donations help the lives of a third-world community, I very much doubt that they benefit only the child you have “adopted,” leaving neighbouring children in the dust.
To take a specific example, blood donation, which is in my mind since I recently did so for the first time, and it was being discussed on the radio yesterday. If you got a phone call today from someone who told you that your specific donation was the one that saved their life… do you think that would change your likelihood of giving again?
hmmn… feeling Godin-like now