Creative Touch Fundraising
The Authority Principle

Creative touch fundraising is based on the powers of persuasion. The authority principle is just one of the many principles related to the powers of persuasion.

The authority principle works on the premise that we often blindly follow the advice of authority figures. Before we talk about the principle let me first examine your reaction to the previous sentence.

The first time I read it I objected to it on the grounds that I don't "blindly" follow anything! I later found out, that this type of reaction is natural. The reason is related to the fact that we all like to be in control of our minds. When someone suggests that you'd "blindly" follow another person's advice, then that is enough to trigger your natural resistance to the statement.

You may have experienced resistance to the statement on authority simple because of the way I worded it but there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that its a true statement nonetheless. When a doctor tells you to take a medicine what do you do? You probably take it. The reason you do is because you accept that they are an authority on all things of a medical nature. Likewise you probably didn't argue with anything you learned at school because of the perceived authority in relation to the teacher's knowledge.

Ok, so in most cases "blindly" following the advice of an authority figure won't get you into too much trouble, but occasionally it can. Recently, British mind control expert, Derren Brown, recreated the old Stanley Milgram electric shock experiment, that demonstrated the almost unbelievable power of the authority principle.

Controversy surrounded Stanley Milgram for much of his professional life as a result of a series of experiments on the authority principle, which he conducted at Yale University in 1961-1962.

He found, surprisingly, that 65% of his subjects, ordinary residents of New Haven, were willing to give an apparently fatal electric shock of up to 450 volts, to a pitifully protesting victim. The shock was given as punishment for answering a general knowledge question incorrectly!

Why were these people willing to do this to a fellow human being? The only reason they gave the shock, was because they were commanded to do so by a person whom they believed to be a scientific authority (i.e. a guy in a white coat). It didn't matter that the victim was pleading with them not to do it.

The victim was, in reality, a good actor who did not actually receive any shocks. This fact was only revealed to the subjects at the end of the experiment. But, during the experiment itself, the experience was a powerfully real and gripping one for most participants.

In Derren Browns re-construction he got almost identical results to that of the original experiments. It almost defies belief that someone would give another person an electric shock of 450v (almost certainly a fatal voltage level!), just because they have been instructed to do so by an authority figure. Such is the power of the principle of authority. I wouldn't recommend this particular experiment as part of your creative touch fundraising.

This experiment serves as a poignant illustration of the click..whirr response we often demonstrate with respect to authority figures. Creative touch fundraising uses many such principles as part of the powers of persuasion.

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