- Charity XYZ mails an appeal with an envelope window showing there’s a nickel inside.
- A famous celebrity comes on the TV screen with a message about her favorite charity and the work it is doing.
- The solicitation asks only for your signature on a petition.
They are examples of what Robert Cialdini calls the six principles of persuasion, many of which are employed every day to influence people’s buying and giving decisions.
The six principles are:
- Reciprocity. Coins or return address labels mailed to prospective donors.
- Scarcity. “Only a few seats are still available.”
- Liking. Friends are encouraged to ask their friends to give.
- Authority. Ordinary people may follow a well-dressed man crossing the street against a “wait” signal, but they won’t follow a guy dressed in a sweatshirt and baseball cap.
- Social proof. People often will go along with what the rest of the crowd is doing.
- Commitment and consistency. If you can get a donor to sign a pledge, the donor will usually follow through on the commitment.
Katya Andresen introduces the six keys to influence in her blog. She also points to a 30-minute video showing Cialdini describing the keys.