Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Face-to-face requests 34 times more effective than email, research finds

Face-to-face requests 34 times more effective than email, research finds

Research conducted in the US into the power of persuasiveness in written communication versus face-to-face methods has found that face-to-face is 34 times more effective when making a request than email.

The study was conducted by Mahdi Roghanizad of Western University and Vanessa K. Bohns at the ILR School at Cornell University, and published in the volume 69 of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. It states that despite email’s reach, asking in person is the significantly more effective approach; with just asking six people in person equal the power of sending an email to 200.

In one experiment for the study, 45 people asked 10 strangers each to complete a brief survey. All participants made the same request using the same script but half did so via email, while the other half asked face-to-face. It found that people were much more likely to agree to complete a survey when they were asked in-person.

However, before the experiment, the study found that email participants felt just as confident as face-to-face participants that people would respond positively to their request, guessing that an average of 5.5 of the ten people they asked would agree, compared to 5 for those asking in person. In fact, the face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed ones.


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.
" />