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Psychol Rep. 2000 Apr;86(2):551-9.

Effects of picture and even-a-penny-will-help appeals on anonymous donations to charity.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond 40475, USA.


The present research explored the effectiveness of a picture and the phrase "even a penny will help" on contributions to charity. Two experiments were conducted, one in the laboratory and one in the field. In both experiments the manipulation of a pleasant picture and the phrase created four types of signs: (1) picture-no phrase, (2) phrase-no picture, (3) picture-phrase, and (4) no picture-no phrase. In the field experiment patrons of local business anonymously put money in a donation box that displayed one of the four signs. In the laboratory experiment, 129 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to view one of the four signs placed on a donation box for a local charity. Analyses for both studies showed that more money was donated when the boxes displayed pictures. The phrase "even a penny will help" had no significant effect on donations.

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