The Foot-in-the-Door Technique
There are a number of compliance techniques in
psychology. One of these compliance techniques is the
foot-in-the-door technique. What is the foot-in-the-door
The Foot-in-the-Door Technique Definition:
The foot-in-the-door technique involves making an initial
smaller request before making a larger request.
The Foot-in-the-Door Technique Example:
For example, a solicitor could first ask a person to sign a
petition. Then, a few weeks later the solicitor could ask the
person to make a donation.
Research Findings Concerning Charitable Donations:
There are a number of studies concerning the foot-in-the
door technique and charitable donations. For example,
Schwarzwald, Bizman, and Raz (1983) investigated the
effectiveness of the foot-in-the-door technique for door-to-door
fundraising. In their study, some of the participants were first
asked to sign a petition before being asked to make a donation
to the organization (foot-in-the-door condition). Others were
not asked to sign a petition before making a donation (control
condition). The request to sign a petition was made two weeks
prior to the request to make a donation. They found that a
greater percentage of people made a donation in the
foot-in-the-door condition than in the control condition. Also,
they found that making the small request to sign a petition
resulted in more money being donated than not making this
The findings from scientific studies on the foot-in-the-door
technique have been mixed. Although some studies have
found that the foot-in-the-door technique can increase
donations, other studies found no statistically significant effect
for the foot-in-the-door technique on donations (see Bell,
2003). Nonetheless, it may be good to use the foot-in-the-door
technique in fundrasing. It may be a good fundraising method.
Bell, B. (2003). The Social Psychology of Fundraising (4th
ed.). Portland, Oregon: Blue Fox Communications.
Schwarzwald, J., Bizman, A., & Raz, M. (1983). The Foot-
in-the-Door Paradigm: Effects of a Second Request Size
on Donation Probability and Donor Generosity.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 443-450.