The author would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of the San Diego chapter of the American Cancer Society, especially the helpfulness of Patty Dwyer.
Applying Social Psychology to Induce Charitable Donations1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 14, Issue 5, pages 441–447, October 1984
How to Cite
Weyant, J. M. (1984), Applying Social Psychology to Induce Charitable Donations. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 14: 441–447. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1984.tb02250.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
As part of a door-to-door campaign to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, 359 people in a middle-class neighborhood were randomly assigned to five different versions of a request for contributions. A version of the request similar to that typically used in such charity drives served as a control and the other four versions were modified slightly on the basis of social psychological principles. Three of these manipulations failed to increase donating beyond the level of the standard request. Replicating prior research, it was found that for completed requests (N= 293) adding the words “even a penny will help” to the standard request significantly increased the percentage of people who donated. However, in 66 cases the solicitor was interrupted with a donation or a refusal before delivering the key phrase that differentiated the experimental conditions. An analysis of these incomplete requests suggests that the effectiveness of the even-a-penny technique may be at least partially explained by the solicitors' expectations.