In my Introduction to Social Psychology class at the University of Arizona (PSY360), I included an assignment that required students to ask people for donations for the local Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. This was part of our unit on Persuasion, and so we used this as an opportunity to try out a classic persuasion tactic – and make a difference in the community while we were at it! I adapted this assignment from Dr. Elizabeth Canning (@dr_canning on Twitter) who graciously shared her materials.
I assigned half of the class to use the door-in-the-face tactic by asking people first for a $20 donation, then for a $5 donation to the food bank. The other half of the class was assigned to a control condition by only asking for $5 donations. I required students to ask at least 5 people, but encouraged them to ask more if they wished. I also offered extra credit if the class raised more than $1,000.
In short, the assignment was a success in that we raised $4,737.81 in total (equaling about 2,369 meals)! The door-in-the-face tactic seemed to work as well, with that group raising $3,063.01 and the control group raising $1,674.80. On average, students in the door-in-the-face condition raised an average of $28.90, while those in the control condition raised an average of $14.95.
I wanted to share all of my materials here so that others could incorporate this or similar activities to raise money for local causes. Below you can find (1) a Word document of the assignment instructions, (2) an Excel file that works as a template for students to fill out to keep track of how many people they've asked/how much they raised, and (3) a Powerpoint of the results that I presented to students in class: