Masli and Tervan (2012) examine two 'compliance without pressure' techniques.
Essentially, this is how to get people to do something without feeling pressured to do it.
The first was 'foot in the door'. i.e. once a person performs a small request, s/he is likely to perform a larger request later on.
The second is badly named 'low-ball' i.e. once a person commits to a request s/he is more likely to perform it even if its costlier/more difficult to do.
The study showed two interesting results. First, both techniques outperformed the control group by some margin. Second, of the two, the low-ball outperformed the foot in the door technique.
This has two interesting implications:
- It shows that getting members to take a small action towards the goals can increase further commitment later on.
- It's more effective to get members to agree/pledge to take an action. They still perform the action even if it becomes more difficult to do/issues arise.
This is one study from one community. It might not reflect all communities. It does suggest, however, that having members take a pledge to do something in the future can produce far better responses than simply asking members to do something right now.