Case Study

The Coffee Fund: Writing an Influential Email

Claire McCarty, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Stacy Vollmers, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
December 1, 2022
North America
Human Resources & Organizational Behavior, Operations, Strategy & General Management, Marketing & Sales
3 pages
organizational influence, persuasion, business communication, Sales, marketing
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.7)
Average rating: 

Sasha oversaw the Coffee Fund for the College of Business where she worked as an administrative assistant. Coffee drinkers were asked to contribute. Over the years to maintain this fund, Sasha relied on repeated emails soliciting donations. As coffee supplies were seriously low, Sasha sent an email the previous week: “The Coffee Fund has contacted me. They have told me they are low on funds for purchasing more coffee, creamer, etc. If you would like to contribute, that would be wonderful.” Hardly any of the coffee drinkers had chosen to contribute. After doing a little research into persuasion, Sasha began to compose another email. What should it say?

Learning Outcomes: 

In analyzing this critical incident, students should be able to:

1. Summarize principles of organizational influence.

2. Apply French & Raven (1959) bases of power.

3. Evaluate an email using general influence tactics.

4. Evaluate an email using Cialdini’s (1984, 2021) principles of persuasion

5. Create, using Cialdini’s (2021) seven principles of persuasion, more effective messaging.

6. Create, using the AIDA model, a more persuasive email.