Let's Dialogue About Penny: Effectiveness of Dialogue Involvement and Legitimizing Paltry Contribution Techniques1


  • 1

    Preparation of this article was supported by Komitet Badan Naukowych (the Polish Committee for Scientific Research), Grant 5H01F 05220. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on two earlier versions of this article and Wilhelmina Wosinska for her help in improving the language of the paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dariusz Dolinski, Warsaw School of Social Psychology, Wroclaw Faculty, ul. Grunwaldzka 98, 50-357 Wroclaw, Poland. E-mail: dariusz.dolinski@swps.edu.pl


Earlier research has shown (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976) that the statement “Even a penny will help” added to a standard request for charity donation considerably increases the probability of carrying it out. The present study tested the effectiveness of this technique in various contexts in a set of 3 field experiments conducted on the streets of 2 Polish cities. The results proved, first, that success can be strengthened when combined with a dialogue in which a requester is involved prior to being asked for a donation. Second, it was shown that the dialogue itself produced more compliance than did a monologue. Third, it was demonstrated that dialogue related to the content of the requested issue may or may not result in an increase in compliance, presumably depending on the in-group/out-group focus of the dialogue's content. Practical implications for charity donation are offered.