How a monthly gift ask influenced recurring donor acquisition - NextAfter
American Cornerstone Institute

How a monthly gift ask influenced recurring donor acquisition

Experiment ID: #76027

American Cornerstone Institute

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 11/09/2021 - 11/11/2021

For a text-based donor acquisition campaign, American Cornerstone Institute wanted to discover whether this audience could prove to be a potential source for recurring donor acquisition. We decided to set up a treatment version of the page that ended the donation page copy with additional information on the monthly ongoing work required to fulfill the mission, a pre-checked recurring gift selection, and a lower gift array which would better align with average recurring gifts.

Research Question

We believe that emphasizing and asking for a recurring gift for text-based prospective donors will achieve an increase in recurring donor acquisition.


C: Control
T1: Recurring Ask


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control 2.5% $0.00
T1: Recurring Ask 8.2% 222.1% 100.0% $0.00

This experiment has a required sample size of 123 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 875, and the level of confidence is above 95% the experiment results are valid.

Flux Metrics Affected

The Flux Metrics analyze the three primary metrics that affect revenue (traffic, conversion rate, and average gift). This experiment produced the following results:

    0% increase in traffic
× 222.1% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

When analyzing the results two days after the initial text went out to the prospective audience, we found that the recurring-specific donation page was able to acquire 222% more recurring donors than the more general page. However, this increase did come at a cost:

  • The instant donor revenue was $2.5K less than the control version
  • We acquired 18.6% less overall donors by asking specifically for recurring (with a 97% statistical level of confidence)

The decrease in donors is not a significant concern since the total number of gifts would balance out by the next month due to the additional recurring donors. However, the reduction of revenue is of note since it primarily came from a decrease in the number of $250 instant gifts.

In terms of the revenue, the instant and downstream ROI of the treatment will balance out after 4 months and would become a net positive in subsequent months from the $1,100 in monthly recurring revenue that was acquired. Overall, it was a successful experiment.

Based upon these learnings, the next best step would be to iterate this experiment by adding in the upper donation amounts back into the gift array and running the split test again. The goal would be to see if we can maintain the recurring gift acquisition rate while not losing some of the larger donors.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #76027

If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.