Well, here’s the weirdest but potentially most helpful fundraising banquet tip you’ll receive this year, courtesy of Call & Response blog:
According to a study profiled in Scientific American, people are more likely to give generously to a cause after stepping off the “up” escalator.
In fact, lest you dismiss this to flukedom, there were actually four studies about the generosity of “up” that all came to the same conclusion:
In the first study they found that twice as many mall shoppers who had just ridden an up escalator contributed to the Salvation Army than shoppers who had just ridden the down escalator. In a second study, participants who had been taken upa short flight of stairs to an auditorium stage to complete a series of questionnaires volunteered more than 50 percent more of their time than participants who had been led down to the orchestra pit.
A third study took yet another approach. Participants were to decide how much hot sauce to give to a participant purportedly taking part in a food-tasting study. Those who were up on the stage gave only half as much of the painfully hot sauce to the other person as did those who were sitting down in the orchestra pit.
In a final study, participants watched film clips of scenes taken from an airplane above the clouds, or through the window of a passenger car. Participants who had watched the clip of flying up above the clouds were 50 percent more cooperative in a computer game than those who had watched the car ride down on the ground.
The report reminded me of a banquet I emceed a few years ago where the hotel elevators were on the fritz. Participants had to trudge up four flights of stairs to get to the banquet hall.
And the offering was really good that night.
No word on whether the effect holds for elevators or is diminished by forcing participants to undertake a Bataan Death March up twenty flights of stairs to the penthouse. So best be on the safe side and just opt for a generosity-spritzing escalator ride up one level to the mezzanine of the hotel for your next banquet.