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The Legitimization of Paltry Favors Effect: A Review and Meta-Analysis

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A meta-analysis was conducted on the legitimization of paltry favors (LPF) effect (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976). A total of 19 studies met the inclusion criteria, with a combined sample of 2,730 subjects. Excluding studies in which the LPF request was deliv-ered via mail and those studies that accepted pledges as the dependent variable resulted in a homogeneous set of effect sizes (r ¼ .18, OR ¼ 2.41). While the data provide clues as to possible mediating mechanisms, the cause of the effect is still not clear. Directions for future research are suggested. Legitimizing paltry favors (LPF) as a means of gaining compliance was first studied by Cialdini and Schroeder in 1976. Confederates dressed as American Cancer Society solicitors added the phrase ''even a penny will help'' to a direct request, and com-pliance nearly doubled. Since then, many studies have been conducted on the LPF as a compliance gaining tactic, some designed to replicate the findings, some to test boundary conditions, some to examine potential moderators, and some to investi-gate possible cognitive mediators. This meta-analysis synthesizes this sometimes paradoxical body of literature. The critical feature of an LPF request is a message validating small contributions, typically with the phrase ''even a penny will help.'' Researchers have tinkered with this basic technique in a number of ways. In the original LPF study, Cialdini and Schroeder (1976) also used the phrases ''even a dollar will help'' and ''we've already received some contributions, ranging from a penny on up.'' The effect has been
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The Legitimization of Paltry Favors
Effect: A Review and Meta-Analysis
Kyle R. Andrews, Christopher J. Carpenter,
Allison S. Shaw, & Franklin J. Boster
A meta-analysis was conducted on the legitimization of paltry favors (LPF) effect
(Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976). A total of 19 studies met the inclusion criteria, with a
combined sample of 2,730 subjects. Excluding studies in which the LPF request was deliv-
ered via mail and those studies that accepted pledges as the dependent variable resulted
in a homogeneous set of effect sizes (r ¼.18, OR ¼2.41). While the data provide clues as
to possible mediating mechanisms, the cause of the effect is still not clear. Directions for
future research are suggested.
Keywords: Compliance-Gaining; Even a Penny Will Help; Legitimization of Paltry
Favors
Legitimizing paltry favors (LPF) as a means of gaining compliance was first studied
by Cialdini and Schroeder in 1976. Confederates dressed as American Cancer Society
solicitors added the phrase ‘‘even a penny will help’’ to a direct request, and com-
pliance nearly doubled. Since then, many studies have been conducted on the LPF
as a compliance gaining tactic, some designed to replicate the findings, some to test
boundary conditions, some to examine potential moderators, and some to investi-
gate possible cognitive mediators. This meta-analysis synthesizes this sometimes
paradoxical body of literature.
The critical feature of an LPF request is a message validating small contributions,
typically with the phrase ‘‘even a penny will help.’’ Researchers have tinkered with
this basic technique in a number of ways. In the original LPF study, Cialdini and
Schroeder (1976) also used the phrases ‘‘even a dollar will help’’ and ‘‘we’ve already
received some contributions, ranging from a penny on up.’’ The effect has been
Correspondence to: Kyle R. Andrews, Michigan State University, 473 Communication Arts and Sciences
Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. E-mail: andre170@msu.edu
Communication Reports
Vol. 21, No. 2, July–December 2008, pp. 59–69
ISSN 0893-4215 (print)/ISSN 1745-1043 (online) #2008 Western States Communication Association
DOI: 10.1080/08934210802305028
found with zlotys, the Polish currency most equivalent to a penny. In addition to
changing the wording and monetary amount, the effect has been found with other
target requests, such as ‘‘even a flyer will help’’ and ‘‘even a few minutes will help.’’
The organizations and causes for which confederates collected money also varied and
included the American Cancer Society (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976; Weyant & Smith,
1987), Urszula Jaworska Foundation (Dolinski, Grzyb, Olejnik, Prusakowski, &
Urban, 2005), Vermont Heart Fund (DeJong & Oopik, 1992), American Heart
Association (Reingen, 1978), Humane Society (Reeves & Saucer, 1993), Afghan refu-
gees and World Expo (Dolinski et al., 2005), The Good Friends Shelter Group
(Reeves, Macolini, & Martin, 1987), and university orientations for international
students (Takada & Levine, 2007).
Despite the success of variants on the basic LPF technique, the results have not
always been uniform. Some studies have found no or little effect, and some have even
found a negative effect (DeJong & Oopik, 1992; Reeves & Saucer, 1993, Study 1, no
commitment condition). The reason for the discrepant findings is unclear, but there
are a number of moderators that could be the cause. For instance, the studies vary on
the physical immediacy of the request (face-to-face requests v. mailed solicitations),
the target behavior requested (money, pledges, or time commitments), demographic
characteristics of the sample (e.g., age, sex of requester, sex of subject), wording of the
request, and where the request was made.
In addition to the apparent variance in effects across studies, there is no consensus
on the cognitive mechanisms that cause the effect. With a few exceptions, subsequent
studies have focused on replicating the results and boundary testing, and not on
investigating mediating mechanisms. Cialdini and Schroeder (1976) eliminated per-
ceived need as an explanation, and proposed that the results were potentially caused
by self-presentation goals, barrier removal (taking away the ability to say no), guilt, or
sympathy. DeJong and Oopik (1992) investigated the LPF in a mailed request and did
not find effects, potentially evidence for the self-presentation explanation. Dolinski
et al. (2005) implied that the technique may work because in many of the LPF experi-
ments, the requestor engaged in dialogue with the subject before making the request;
eliminating dialogue, however, did not eliminate the LPF effect.
Due to the discrepant results and the multiple potential moderators, a meta-
analysis was conducted. Because to our knowledge no such analysis exists, it
has the potential to provide answers not otherwise discernable and to set a future
LPF research agendum.
Method
Meta-Analytic Technique
The Hunter and Schmidt (1990) variance-centered method of meta-analysis was
employed to examine these data.
1
The first step in performing this meta-analysis
was to locate pertinent studies. LPF studies were found through a number of
methods. First, searches were conducted on PsychInfo, PubMed, Communication
& Mass Media Complete, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses using the terms
60 K. R. Andrews et al.
‘‘legitimization of paltry favors,’’ ‘‘even a penny will help,’’ and ‘‘even a dollar will
help.’’ The literature reviews and reference sections of these articles were then
searched to see if any studies were missed.
The second step was to develop inclusion criteria. For a study to be included in
this meta-analysis, it had to fulfill four conditions. First, the study had to have a con-
dition that legitimized a truly minimal contribution (e.g., Brockner, Guzzi, Kane,
Levine, & Shaplen, 1984, was excluded because it used an ‘‘even a dollar will help’’
message induction). Second, it had to have a control condition that used a (relatively)
direct request (e.g., Mark & Shotland, 1983, was eliminated because the control
condition included pregiving). Third, the unit of analysis had to be an individual
decision to comply or not to comply (e.g., Perrine & Heather, 2000, was eliminated
because the unit of analysis was the donation receptacle). Fourth, the experiment
had to provide sufficient information for an effect size to be computed. A total of
19 studies from 11 articles were found that fulfilled these selection criteria, with year
of publication ranging from 1976 to 2007. All located studies were published in
English. All of the experiments included in the final analyses were performed outside
of laboratories (i.e., in natural settings). Some of the participants in these studies may
have been students, but certainly not all of them.
The third step was to transform quantitative information in each pertinent report
to a common metric. In this meta-analysis we chose the familiar metric r, the Pearson
Product Moment Correlation Coefficient. Fourth, the effects were weighted by
sample size and averaged (mean). Fifth, the variability in effect sizes across studies
(i.e., homogeneity) was assessed with the Hunter and Schmidt (1990) chi square
test. Sixth, a sampling error analysis was performed to ascertain if the results were
homogeneous across studies or if there was substantial heterogeneity. The latter case
would indicate the presence of differential methodological artifacts, moderator
variables, or both. The last step involved attempting to isolate important moderators
if they existed.
Instrumentation
Examining this corpus for differences in study execution led to the measurement of a
number of potential moderators (see Table 1). This set of measures included presen-
tation mode (face-to-face v. other), sex of requestor, sex of subject, age of subject
(adult v. other), phrasing of the request (e.g., ‘‘even a penny will help,’’ ‘‘taking
contributions from a penny on up’’), length of the message, type of request (prosocial
or not), requesting organization (e.g., American Cancer Society, Humane Society),
the number of confederates, whether or not the confederates were blind to condition
and hypothesis, year of publication, and country in which the experiments were con-
ducted (Poland vs. United States). Four researchers agreed on all coding decisions.
Results
There were 19 studies with a combined sample size of 2,730 for which a compliance
effect size could be computed (see Table 2). The weighted correlation for this set of
Communication Reports 61
Table 1 Descriptive Information for Studies Meeting Inclusion Criteria
Study Mode
1
DV
2
Sex of
requestor
3
Number of
requestors Place
4
Blind to
hypotheses
5
Country
LPF
message
6
Control
message
7
Cialdini & Schroeder (1976), Study 1 FTF I B 2 H NA USA 1 1
Cialdini & Schroeder (1976), Study 2 FTF I B 2 H Y USA 2 1, 2
DeJong & Oopik (1992) M I I NA H NA USA 1, 3 1, 3
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 1 FTF I B 1 P Y Poland 1, 4 1, 4
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 2 FTF I B 1 P Y Poland 1, 4 1, 4
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 3 FTF P M 1 P Y Poland 1, 4 1, 4
Fraser & Hite (1989) FTF I B 1 H Y USA 1 1
Fraser, Hite, & Sauer (1988) FTF I B 1 H Y USA 1 1
Reeves, Macolini, & Martin (1987) FTF I B 2 H NA USA 1, 5 1, 2
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
face-to-face condition
FTF I M 2 P N USA 1, 5 1, 2
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
commitment condition
FTF P M 2 P N USA 1, 5 1, 2
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
no commitment condition
FTF P M 2 P N USA 1, 5 1, 2
62
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 2,
face-to-face condition
FTF I M 2 P Y USA 1, 5 1, 2
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 2,
commitment condition
FTF P M 2 P Y USA 1, 5 1, 2
Reingen (1978), Study 1 FTF I B 2 P Y USA 1 1
Reingen (1978), Study 2 FTF I M 1 P Y USA 1 1
Takada & Levine (2007) FTF I F 1 P Y USA 1 1
Weyant (1984) FTF I B 2 H NA USA 1, 3 1, 3
Weyant & Smith (1987), Study 1 FTF I B 2 H Y USA 1, 3 1, 3
1
Presentation mode: FTF ¼face to face, M ¼mailed.
2
Dependent variable: I ¼immediate, P ¼pledge.
3
Sex of requestor: M ¼male, F ¼female, B ¼both male and female, I ¼impersonal request.
4
Place request made: H ¼subject’s home, P ¼public.
5
Whether confederate was blind to condition.
6
LPF Message: 1 ¼variant of ‘‘even a penny will help,’’ 2 ¼‘‘contributions from a penny on up,’’ 3 ¼included pregiving, 4 ¼included dialogue induction, 5 ¼included
normative information.
7
Control message: 1 ¼simple direct request, 2 ¼included normative information, 3 ¼included pregiving, 4 ¼included dialogue induction.
63
studies was .11 (unweighted mean ¼.18) with a weighted variance of .019
(unweighted variance ¼.026). The weighted odds ratio was 1.92 (unweighted
OR ¼2.71). The variance that would be expected from sampling error alone, given
a set of 19 studies with 2,730 participants, is .007, a figure that is significantly less
than the obtained variance (v
2
(18, N¼2730) ¼53.15, p<.001).
2
Table 2 Compliance Effects for Studies Meeting Initial Inclusion Criteria by Moderator
Control LPF
Compliance
effect
Study %
Complaint
subjects=n%
Compliant
subjects=nr OR
Face to face, dependent variable collected immediately
Cialdini & Schroeder (1976), Study 1 28.6 12=42 50.0 21=42 0.22 2.50
Cialdini & Schroeder (1976), Study 2 32.3 10=31 58.1 18=31 0.29 3.37
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 1 50.0 30=60 68.3 41=60 0.19 2.16
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 2 31.7 38=120 41.7 50=120 0.10 1.54
Fraser & Hite (1989) 23.8 19=80 30.0 24=80 0.07 1.38
Fraser, Hite, & Sauer (1988) 15.0 24=160 34.0 54=160 0.22 2.89
Reeves, Macolini, & Martin (1987) 30.0 9=30 56.7 17=30 0.27 3.05
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
face-to-face condition
40.0 6=15 66.7 10=15 0.27 3.00
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 2,
face-to-face condition
34.4 11=32 66.7 20=30 0.32 3.82
Reingen (1978), Study 1 19.0 6=32 47.0 15=32 0.30 3.82
Reingen (1978), Study 2 11.0 3=28 39.0 11=28 0.33 5.39
Takada & Levine (2007) 13.8 4=29 23.1 6=26 0.12 1.88
Weyant (1984) 39.0 23=59 57.0 30=53 0.18 2.04
Weyant & Smith (1987), Study 1 36.0 34=94 39.0 37=95 0.03 1.13
Combined (weighted by sample size
where applicable)
28.2 229=812 44.2 354=802 0.18 2.41
Mailed request DeJong & Oopik (1992) 7.0 24=340 4.0 14=348 0.07 0.55
Pledge as dependent variable
Dolinski et al. (2005), Study 3 30.8 37=120 43.3 52=120 0.13 1.72
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
commitment condition
33.3 5=15 80.0 12=15 0.47 8.00
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 1,
no commitment condition
86.7 13=15 66.7 10=15 0.24 0.31
Reeves & Saucer (1993), Study 2,
commitment condition
35.5 11=31 61.1 22=36 0.26 2.86
Combined (weighted by sample
size where applicable)
36.5 66=181 51.6 96=186 0.11 2.27
64 K. R. Andrews et al.
A search for variables that could account for the dispersion yielded two potential
moderators. First, the vast majority of the experiments involved face-to-face
solicitation (M¼.17, OR ¼2.38, K¼18, N¼2,042). The one experiment that
employed a mail solicitation produced an effect size substantially variant from the
face-to-face solicitations (M¼.07, OR ¼.55, N¼688). Because in only one
experiment was the solicitation not made face-to-face, it is possible that this study
was aberrant in some other way. Thus, firm conclusions concerning the moderating
effect of presentation mode must await subsequent research. Second, most experi-
ments involved collecting money directly from the participants, but five experiments
employed pledges as the dependent variable. The latter produced larger, but not sig-
nificantly different, effects than did the former (pledge, M¼.15, OR ¼2.27, N¼422
v. money, M¼.11, OR ¼1.85, N¼2,308; z¼0.75, ns;r¼.09), although the relation-
ship is reversed (and still not significant) when the lone mail solicitation is not
included in the analysis (see below).
Eliminating the experiment in which the solicitation was made by mail and the
five experiments that employed pledges as the dependent variable yielded a set of
13 experiments (N¼1,620). The weighted mean effect size in these experiments
was r¼.18 (OR ¼2.41, weighted variance ¼.009). The variance expected from
sampling error alone is .008. Testing the null hypothesis that the weighted variance
did not differ substantially from zero indicated that the null hypothesis could
not be rejected (v
2
(12, N¼1,620) ¼15.57, p¼.21). Thus, the data are consistent
with the hypothesis that this set of 13 experiments produces a set of homogeneous
effect sizes. The null hypothesis that the weighted variance did not differ substantially
from zero for the group of five pledge experiments could also not be rejected
(v
2
(4, N¼422) ¼8.88, p ¼.06).
A number of additional moderators were examined, but none accounted for a
statistically significant amount of variance. These included presentation mode,
sex of requestor, sex of subject, age of subject, phrasing of the request, length of
the message, type of request, requesting organization, the number of confederates,
whether or not the confederates were blind to condition and hypothesis, year of
publication, and country in which the experiment(s) was conducted.
Finally, a file drawer analysis was conducted. The results indicated that 34 studies
of N¼125 (the mean sample size of this database), each producing an effect size of
zero, would be necessary to reduce the mean effect size to .05. A total of 221 studies of
the same mean sample size, each producing an effect size of zero, would be necessary
to reduce the mean effect size to .01.
Discussion
Summary of the LPF Studies
Despite the fact that only 19 studies met the inclusion criteria, there is still sufficient
evidence from the literature to draw conclusions regarding the legitimization of
paltry favors technique. The analysis found that adding the LPF phrase produced
more compliance than the direct request control. Two moderators were found.
Communication Reports 65
One moderator was the use of a face-to-face solicitation. When the compliance-
gaining attempt was not face-to-face, the technique was not successful. But, one must
be cautious in drawing firm conclusions; in only one experiment was the solicitation
not made face-to-face. The other moderator was whether pledges or immediate
donations were requested. After eliminating the study that was not a face-to-face
solicitation, pledges produced smaller compliance effect sizes than immediate
monetary donations. When the studies that contained these two moderators were
eliminated, a homogeneous effect of r¼.18 was found for LPF on compliance. An
effect size of this magnitude is comparable to effect sizes reported for other compliance
gaining techniques, such as the foot-in-the-door (FITD) and the door-in-the-face
(DITF; Burger, 1999; Dillard, Hunter, & Burgoon, 1984; O’Keefe & Hale, 1998).
Two studies found interaction effects that cannot be examined using meta-analytic
techniques without additional studies. Takada and Levine (2007) found that people
who were high in perspective-taking were more likely than those low in perspective-
taking to comply with an LPF request but less likely to comply with the control request.
Fraser, Hite, and Sauer (1988) found that when a large donation suggestion was men-
tioned before the LPF request, the LPF technique did not increase compliance rates
above the control rate. No other studies that examined potential moderators found sig-
nificant evidence for them. For example, Fraser and Hite (1989) found that adding a
statement that there was an organization that would make a matching offer did not
affect compliance rates, while Reingen (1978) found that combining the LPF with
the DITF or FITD technique did not produce more compliance than the LPF alone.
Two studies examined possible mediators for the LPF effect. Cialdini and
Schroeder (1976) proposed that the targets of an LPF request would conclude that
if a charity was asking for pennies, they must have a high need for donations. Cialdini
and Schroeder’s subsequent experiments eliminated this explanation. Dolinski et al.
(2005) proposed that the LPF increased compliance by creating a dialogue with the
target. Here also, the results of the subsequent experiments produced no evidence
consistent with this hypothesis; therefore, at this juncture in the development of
the LPF literature, there is little evidence to support specific mediational mechanisms
for the observed effect. A number of possible explanatory mechanisms remain to be
considered in future studies. Perhaps the LPF message removes a reason to say no to
the request or that self-presentation goals lead targets to want to avoid being
perceived negatively by those soliciting their compliance or those observing the
compliance gaining interaction; the extent to which these reasons are actually differ-
ent is also undetermined. It is also possible that the LPF leads to targets anticipating
negative affect if they do not contribute. Finally, it is also possible that the most
obvious explanation is true, namely that the LPF condition legitimizes the contri-
bution of small sums, making subjects feel comfortable donating what they can afford
rather than what they think the charity might expect. While it was not possible to
calculate the mean effect size for average donation, evidence from individual studies
indicates that the average donation does not differ substantially based on condition,
making the legitimization argument less likely. Nevertheless, more research is needed
before hard conclusions can be drawn.
66 K. R. Andrews et al.
Limitations and a Comment on Conducting Compliance Gaining Experiments
A limitation of this body of research stems from the nature of the control group
employed typically in LPF experiments. As Mark and Shotland (1983) pointed out,
the generalization of the results of the typical LPF experiment to a phenomenon such
as donating to charities is marred by the fact that charities rarely employ only a direct
request in their campaigns. Instead, their typical message is likely much more
persuasive than the direct request control message, and, consequently, the effects
of the extant LPF literature may overestimate the benefit of the technique in applied
contexts. Of course, this limitation can be addressed by subsequent research.
Moreover, it is important to note that the LPF technique may have limited appli-
cations. In the set of studies reviewed here, the topic was prosocial in each case. It is
unclear how the technique could be adopted to compliance gaining situations in
which the request is not clearly prosocial or is decidedly antisocial.
Finally, it is worth noting that, although meta-analysis can be used to examine
moderator effects, and may uncover evidence of interesting, important, and non-
obvious moderators, it may also fail to discover other, equally interesting, important,
and nonobvious moderators. For instance, many individual differences (e.g., self-
esteem, dogmatism, and need for cognition) cannot yet be examined via meta-
analysis, as they are not measured in the primary research literature. If such unknown
individual differences do moderate the LPF-compliance relationship, they can
contribute to the heterogeneity of the effect estimates observed across studies. Unfortu-
nately, finding heterogeneous effects does not provide a clear clue as to which individ-
ual differences might serve as moderators. Thus, the investigation of such moderators
in primary studies, as in Takada and Levine (2007), has the potential to make impor-
tant contributions to our understanding of the LPF-compliance relationship.
Conclusion
This meta-analysis demonstrated that when solicitations were made face-to-face and
donations were collected at the time of the request, a mean effect size was obtained
that is comparable to other techniques known to be effective in gaining compliance
(e.g., door-in-the-face and foot-in-the-door). Moreover, the LPF technique is easier
to implement than other, multistage strategies. Additionally, two research opportu-
nities arise from this review. First, there is a lack of definitive research locating
mediators of the effect, making this area ripe for additional exploration. Second,
the technique has not been implemented with antisocial or self-interested requests.
Subsequent research investigating these issues has the potential to circumscribe the
boundary conditions surrounding this phenomenon.
Notes
[1] Clearly, there are alternative methods of performing meta-analysis (e.g., Glass, McGaw, &
Smith, 1981; Hedges & Olkin, 1985; Rosenthal, 1991). Hunter’s variance-centered method
has been used extensively and effectively in communication research (e.g., Allen et al.,
Communication Reports 67
2007; Boster & Mongeau, 1984; Dillard et al., 1984; Hullett, 2005). Moreover, it has been our
observation that alternative methods rarely yield estimates that differ substantially when the
methods are executed competently (e.g., Schmidt & Hunter, 1999). In any event, Tables 1
and 2 present the raw data that allow our conclusions to be examined with alternative
methods.
[2] Another dependent variable of interest is the difference in mean donation in the
experimental and control groups. In some studies (e.g., DeJong & Oopik, 1992; Dolinski
et al., 2005; Fraser & Hite, 1989), this value was reported for all experimental and control
group subjects. In other studies (e.g., Fraser et al., 1988; Reeves & Saucer, 1993; Takada &
Levine, 2007), this value was reported only for those who donated. This fact made the
calculation of the within cell variances impossible, and thus, made the calculation of an effect
size impossible for this dependent measure.
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Communication Reports 69
... Some studies have found little or no effect of the LPF technique on the compliance rate (Dolinski et al., 2005, Study 2;Fraser & Hite, 1989;Takada & Levine, 2007;Weyant & Smith, 1987, Study 1), and other studies have even shown a negative effect (Dibble et al., 2011;DeJong & Oopik, 1992;Reeves & Saucer, 1993, Study 1, mail-in, no commitment). Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, and Boster (2008a) conducted a meta-analytic review of the LPF effect to identify potential moderators that affect the discrepant results and to describe the patterns of the LPF effect to be accounted for by any successful explanation of the technique's workings. The review by Andrews et al. (2008a) reported that the overall weighted mean LPF effect for 19 studies was roughly equivalent to a correlation of .11, ...
... Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, and Boster (2008a) conducted a meta-analytic review of the LPF effect to identify potential moderators that affect the discrepant results and to describe the patterns of the LPF effect to be accounted for by any successful explanation of the technique's workings. The review by Andrews et al. (2008a) reported that the overall weighted mean LPF effect for 19 studies was roughly equivalent to a correlation of .11, which indicates that adding the LPF phrase produced a slightly (11%) higher compliance rate than a direct request control. ...
... This research seeks to update and extend the previous meta-analysis conducted by Andrews et al. (2008a). There are three arguments that support the value of the current analysis. ...
Article
The that’s-not-all (TNA) compliance-gaining technique offers a product at an initial price and then improves the deal by either lowering the price or adding an extra product before the target responds to the final and adjusted offer. A meta-analysis with 18 comparisons examining the effectiveness of the TNA strategy found that the technique is a reliable method for increasing compliance (r = .16). Moderator analyses showed that the technique is effective when the purchase of a product is requested, when the price of a product offered in the final request is lower, and when the concession size is not too large. It is argued that the principles of hedonic editing and mindlessness account for the TNA effect.
... Social legitimisation messages were placed in the four other ads for the pre-test. They included the message "even a penny" in one ad because it has been used extensively in social legitimisation message manipulations (Andrews et al., 2008), the message "even a dollar" in another because it was used in the original SLM research, the "for less than a dollar a day" message that emerged from the content analysis as the most commonly used donation request phrase was placed in a third ad and a control ad that features no social legitimisation message in the fourth (see Appendix 1 for ad spot scripts). ...
... That is, the phrase most often used in nonprofit advertising today to ask for donations has no significant difference in raising money than an ad that features no request at all. Therefore, because the "even a penny" manipulation was significant and because it has been used by research investigating SLM in the past (Andrews et al., 2008), the ads communicating that message, along with the control group ad that had no SLM message, were used in Study 2 of the present research. However, an opportunity exists to test the "even a dollar" message in the future. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate how individuals respond to messages asking for donations in broadcast advertising. It does so by considering both preexisting attitudes and beliefs related to donating, as well as message processing. The goal is to uncover messages that may help nonprofit organisations increase donations. Design/methodology/approach The research combines the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to measure preexisting beliefs and the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) to measure involvement in an investigation of donation responses to broadcast-quality advertisements developed by a professional ad agency featuring the following two messages: one that leverages social norms and another that legitimises minimal giving. Two studies collected data from a total of 544 respondents in two between-subjects 2 × 2 × 2 experiments. Findings Injunctive norm messages affect the intended donation behaviour of individuals who are pre-disposed to donating, but only if they are highly involved with the ad. Social legitimisation messages affect donations from individuals who look to referents to direct behaviour, but unlike what was expected, only by those not highly involved with the ad. Similarly, individuals who do not think they can donate increased donations when they saw the legitimisation message and had low advertisement involvement. Research limitations/implications Results extend the ELM-TPB integrated framework by discovering when and how involvement drives intended donation behaviour. The research also sheds light on message processing by focussing on the preexisting characteristics of recipients. Practical implications The results provide nonprofit managers with strategies to increase donations with targeted messages. Those who pay attention to the ad and have a positive attitude toward giving are going to donate if they are told others support the cause. Therefore, the focus should be on those who are not involved with the ad but still believe giving is appropriate. Originality/value This research is the first to use the ELM-TPB framework to discover that ELM has varying utilities and values from TPB in different ad contexts.
... Three systematic reviews investigated the effect of 'legitimizing paltry contributions' on charitable donations (usually words like ''even a penny will help''; Andrews et al., 2008;Bolkan & Rains, 2017;Lee et al., 2016). The largest of these reviews found a moderate increase in compliance (r = 0.22, 95% CI [0.17, 0.26], k = 34; Bolkan & Rains, 2017) which was offset by a decrease in the size of the average donation (r = -0.23, ...
Article
Full-text available
Many charities rely on donations to support their work addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. We conducted a meta-review to determine what interventions work to increase charitable donations. We found 21 systematic reviews incorporating 1339 primary studies and over 2,139,938 participants. Our meta-meta-analysis estimated the average effect of an intervention on charitable donation size and incidence: r = 0.08 (95% CI [0.03, 0.12]). Due to limitations in the included systematic reviews, we are not certain this estimate reflects the true overall effect size. The most robust evidence found suggests charities could increase donations by (1) emphasising individual beneficiaries, (2) increasing the visibility of donations, (3) describing the impact of the donation, and (4) enacting or promoting tax-deductibility of the charity. We make recommendations for improving primary research and reviews about charitable donations, and how to apply the meta-review findings to increase charitable donations.
... A meta-analysis was excluded if it examined the effects of non-message variations such as psychological states (e.g., van Laer, de Ruyter, Visconti, & Wetzels, 2014;Walter, Tukachinsky, Pelled, & Nabi, 2019;Xu & Guo, 2018) or the presence (vs. absence) of some preceding message (e.g., Dillard, Hunter, & Burgoon, 1984;Feeley, Anker, & Aloe, 2012), compared a message form against a no-message control (e.g., Braddock & Dillard, 2016;Chan, Jones, Jamieson, & Albarracín, 2017), included non-experimental studies or studies lacking a control condition (e.g., Shen & Han, 2014;Sun, Miu, Wong, Tucker, & Wong, 2018), examined outcomes other than attitude, intention, or behavior (e.g., Portnoy, Ferrer, Bergman, & Klein, 2014), was restricted to studies examining only one kind of outcome of interest (e.g., Burger & Caputo, 2015;Carpenter, 2013;Hamilton & Hunter, 1998;Lee, Moon, & Feeley, 2016), reported results only for composite persuasion outcomes (e.g., Brugman, Burgers, & Vis, 2019;Cheng & Yan, 2020;Seo & Kim, 2018), did not contain any studies yielding within-study comparisons (e.g., Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008;Lee & Feeley, 2017), analyzed multiple ESs for the same outcome based on a given message pair or set of participants (e.g., Eisend, 2006), or if necessary information about individual studies (ES, sample size, outcome variable) was not available even after correspondence with authors (e.g., Edison, 2008;Fischer & Huber, 2015;Freling, 2017;Freling, Vincent, & Henard, 2014;Grewal, Kavanoor, Fern, Costley, & Barnes, 1997;Lunt, 2016;Wirtz, Sparks, & Zimbres, 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
Persuasive message designers would like to be able to pretest messages to see which will be more effective in influencing behavioral outcomes, but pretesting using behavioral measures is commonly not practical. Examination of within-study effect size comparisons from 317 studies of 22 message variations suggests that persuasive messages’ relative effectiveness is strikingly similar across attitudinal, intention, and behavioral outcomes—with messages’ relative persuasiveness with respect to intention outcomes especially indicative of relative persuasiveness with respect to behavioral outcomes. Intention measures thus provide a convenient and accurate means of persuasive message pretesting.
... The role of paltry donations (i.e. 'even $5 matters' type campaigns), has been established in the nonprofit literature (Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008;Bolkan & Rains, 2017;Shearman & Yoo, 2007). In higher education, qualitative work by Wastyn (2009) andMcDearmon (2010) found that alumni think small monetary contributions to a university fund cannot have a real impact and choose not to give. ...
Article
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The literature on charitable contributions to higher education focuses overwhelmingly on why donors give. This study aims to understand the monetary choice of a contribution, specifically what factors are linked to higher/lower donations. The current research employs the brand communities framework to analyze the role of the strength of the bonds between all types of donors, the collegiate athletics teams they support and their respective department, as it pertains to the level of charitable contributions to collegiate athletics. Considering these relationships explicitly allows for a comprehensive analysis of both the demand and supply side of this market. Ordinal logistic regressions reveal that athletics sponsored donor events are associated with higher contributions from those attending. Fundraising campaigns detailing the specific needs of the teams are met with higher donations. Benefactors attending college sports games are linked to higher contributions. The winning record of a team is associated with gift size for a subsample of contributors only. The econometric technique allows ranking marketing strategies relative to size of contribution, information essential in developing one’s brand community development plan. As fluctuations in the economy have rippling effects in philanthropy, the practical implications are relevant to collegiate and other nonprofit athletics advancement and marketing professionals.
... Additionally, sometimes variables have the same effect on a particular variable simply because many social scientific findings show small-to medium-sized effects. Both the face-to-face application of the but-you-are-free compliance-gaining technique (Carpenter, 2013) and the face-to-face legitimization of the paltry favors technique (Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008) produce an effect size estimate of r = .18 for compliance rates. ...
Article
This essay attempts to describe the apples and oranges problem in meta-analyses. Essentially, some meta-analyses combine original studies of various variables that are not the same pairs of variables. Metaphorically, they meta-analyze the effects of fruit when they should conduct separate meta-analyses of apples and oranges. This practice is inconsistent with the assumptions behind the meta-analytic formulae concerning sampling error and makes meta-analytic estimates difficult to interpret. Meta-analysis teams are advised to justify their choices and types of evidence are described to assist researchers and reviewers in assessing and justifying when constructs can and cannot be combined together in a meta-analysis.
... The provision of resources to educate charity sport event participants on effective storytelling can be further complemented via instruction on the legitimisation of a paltry donation strategy (Shearman & Yoo, 2007), wherein phrases such as "even a dollar will help" are integrated into fundraising appeals. The legitimisation of a paltry donation strategy has been found to increase the success rate of donation requests, however a number of different conditions should be met to achieve this success (Andrews, Carpenter, Shaw, & Boster, 2008). Hence, training charity sport event participants on this technique is advisable. ...
Article
Charity sport events provide participants with a meaningful event experience, and the opportunity to support a charitable cause is a critical component of this experience. This opportunity often involves fundraising, either as a requirement of event participation or as an option to supplement registration. However, fundraising as part of charity sport event participation is a difficult task. In the current research, the authors examine the challenges faced by charity sport event participants in soliciting donations, and the effort made to overcome these challenges. Constraint negotiation served as a theoretical framework to guide this examination. Semi-structured interviews (N = 27) were conducted with Triathlon Pink participants to discuss their fundraising process and their attitudes towards fundraising. Four constraints were revealed: lack of receptivity among potential donors, perceived lack of money from potential donors, discomfort in asking, and lack of time. These constraints were negotiated through three strategies: narrative, prizes and incentives, and emphasising that any bit helps. Based upon the themes uncovered, charity sport event managers can implement increased education of fundraisers and point of sale donations within the registration process. © 2019 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand
Article
It may be possible to teach students in undergraduate research methods courses about replication, while simultaneously providing the discipline a means to solve what some have called a replication “crisis.” Over the span of three consecutive fall semesters, students replicated Cialdini and Schroeder’s “even a penny will help” (EPH) donation solicitation experiment. A meta-analysis of the three semesters supports the original study’s finding: a larger percentage donated in the EPH condition. However, it does not find support for no differences in contribution size; instead, the standard request generated greater donation amounts. Recommendations for utilizing methods courses for increasing replication attempts are discussed.
Article
Impure public goods combine a private good with a public good. Often, impure public goods have a charitable or ethical dimension, giving ethically motivated consumers a convenient option to contribute to public goods through the marketplace (in addition to direct donations). Impure public goods could potentially promote ethical giving or alternatively hinder charitable behaviour. We implement an economics experiment with a between-subject design to test the behavioural relevance of impure public goods with only a token (i.e. small) contribution to a public good. Contributions to the public good are negatively affected by the presence of impure public goods with token contributions. We explore one mechanism to offset this negative impact by making the token impure public good mandatory. We observe higher average contributions and several positive impacts on charitable behaviour, which supports the claim that this mechanism can potentially offset the negative impact of impure public goods.
Article
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Meta-analysis of the foot-in-the-door (FITD) and door-in-the-face (DITF) literatures showed both effects to be small (r = .17, .15 respectively), even under optimal conditions. Both require aprosocial topic in order to work. The amount of time between the first and second requests plays a different role in the operation of each of the two strategies. DITF was effective only when the delay between requests was brief. Effectiveness of FITD was unrelated to delay, but did depend on whether or not an incentive was provided with the first request. The positive relationship between effort and FITD predicted by self-perception theory was not found. Self-perception theory and reciprocal concessions theory, the theoretical perspectives usually applied to FITD and DITF respectively are examined in light of the findings and it is concluded that both are flawed seriously. Directions for future research are suggested.
Article
Full-text available
The results of the investigations providing data on the connection between measures of sexual arousal and positive psychological affect indicate a positive relationship whether measured directly (r=.212) or by a comparison of manipulation check data (r=.223). Female research participants demonstrate more negative emotional responses than men exposed to the same content (r=-.248), but the level of physiological arousal favors men by a much smaller magnitude (r=.134). The response to pornography on the basis of gender reflects not only a physiological difference in reaction but a psychological interpretation of that reaction as well.
Article
A random-effects meta-analysis of research concerning the door-in-the-face (DITF) influence strategy provides evidence supporting more confident generalizations about the role of several moderator variables than that provided by previous reviews. Variations in the identity of the requester, the identity of the beneficiary, the prosocialness of the requests, the medium of communication, and the time interval between requests all appear to influence the size of DITF effects; variations in concession size do not. DITF effects are small in absolute terms (with an overall mean r of .10), but not remarkably small in the context of other effect sizes concerning social influence. However, there is substantial variability in DITF effects, even under optimal conditions. The review’s findings are not easily reconciled with most proposed explanations of DITF effects, but appear consistent with a guilt-based account.
Article
S;mrmary.-Residents of a small Vermont town received one of four mail solicitations from a statewide charity drive. In one condition, designed to legitimize small contributions, the recipients were reminded at the end of the written appeal that "even a penny will help." In a second condition, the recipients were told that they, like other residents of their town, were known to be concerned about others and received a small gift to reinforce that "helper" label, a bumper sticker reading "I Help Out." In a second labeling condition, the recipients were told they were known to be proud of their state and received a bumper sticker to reinforce that label. Those in a control condition received a customary direct mail solicitation. Analysis showed that labeling potential donors as "helpers" did not substantially increase donations. Legitimizing small contributions tended to lower contributions, although the finding was not statistically significant. Techniques that work in other contexts to increase help-giving or compliance with requests must be applied cautiously in the context of direct mail fund-raising. Numerous charitable organizations depend heavily on direct mail solicitation of donations to raise funds. Given this, substantial effort has been directed to testing various techniques to motivate the recipient of a letter to take action, including the use of computer-generated "personal" letters, enclosure of smd gifts (e.g., return address labels), and so on (Benn, 1978).
Article
A meta-analysis of 14 studies reporting the effect of argument strength on attitude under various mood states was conducted. The analyses included 39 estimates of effect size that were used to test the predictions of the processing deficit perspectives (i.e., motivational or ability deficits) and the hedonic contingency model. The results were most consistent with the hedonic contingency model, indicating that participants’ processing of messages seemedto be motivated toward attaining or maintaining positive moods.
Article
Residents of a small Vermont town received one of four mail solicitations from a statewide charity drive. In one condition, designed to legitimize small contributions, the recipients were reminded at the end of the written appeal that "even a penny will help." In a second condition, the recipients were told that they, like other residents of their town, were known to be concerned about others and received a small gift to reinforce that "helper" label, a bumper sticker reading "I Help Out." In a second labeling condition, the recipients were told they were known to be proud of their state and received a bumper sticker to reinforce that label. Those in a control condition received a customary direct mail solicitation. Analysis showed that labeling potential donors as "helpers" did not substantially increase donations. Legitimizing small contributions tended to lower contributions, although the finding was not statistically significant. Techniques that work in other contexts to increase help-giving or compliance with requests must be applied cautiously in the context of direct mail fund-raising.
Article
Prior research has shown that by legitimizing paltry donations in face-to-face contact with prospective donors, fundraisers may increase the amount of money allocated to highly visible charitable organizations. The present study suggests that this “legitimization effect” also occurs when donors are requested to allocate funds to a relatively less well-known organization, through telephone as well as face-to-face contact.