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   
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.