Legitimizing Paltry Contributions: On‐the‐spot vs. Mail‐in Requests

Robert Reeves, Ruthann M. Macolini, Roy C. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Two versions of the legitimization‐of‐paltry‐contributions technique (Cialdini & Schroeder, 1976) were compared with respect to their effectiveness in generating compliance with requests for charitable donations. When immediate, on‐the‐spot donations were requested, the technique significantly increased compliance rates relative to control conditions; but when the respondents were asked to mail in their contributions, virtually none did. The results offered some support for an image‐maintenance explanation of the technique and were viewed as indicating that the effectiveness of the technique is reliable, but primarily under conditions that impose a high degree of situational constraint upon respondents. Implications of the results for door‐to‐door fundraising and for future research were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-738
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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