People love a head start.

So much so if you give your program participants a head start in your incentive program you will get much higher results.

In one experiment with “punch cards”, people who were given a “get a free car wash” punch-card with 10 spaces for future washes with two spaces already punched were almost twice as likely to come back to complete the card and get the free wash than those simply given an empty 8-punch card. Count it out – the exact same number of punches required for the freebie – 8.

This is called the endowed progress effect.

People are naturally motivated to complete tasks that they feel they’ve already started and the closer someone gets to completing a goal the more likely they are to increase their efforts towards closing that last little gap.

Both conditions are present with the “pre-punched” card.

Give your participants a boost.

Tell them you’ve already given them a head start by telling them they only have to earn 90% of their goal. Even if you set the goal at 110% of last year.