Focus on the Family

How a radical redesign to an email appeal affects donor conversion

Experiment ID: #8706

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God's design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 01/12/2018 - 01/23/2018

Traditionally, Focus on the Family sends monthly email appeals that are branded and templates for their organization. They also feature an image or a video with a button for a call-to-action and include a signature of the email sender. They hypothesized that they might be able to increase engagement and conversion of their monthly appeal if they made the email look, feel and sound as if the sender personally sent the appeal himself. To do this, they developed a treatment that stripped the email of it’s branded template to make it look like a plain text email and also wrote the copy in a way that was more conversational. They split their email file in half and tested each version against each other.

Research Question

Would an email that looked, felt, and sounded more personal increase conversion?


C: Traditional Appeal
T1: Plain Text


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Traditional Appeal 0.04%
T1: Plain Text 0.07%77.5% 95.2%

This experiment has a required sample size of 45,597 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 92,543, 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
× 77.5% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The treatment increased donor conversion by 77.5%. This significant increase in conversion can be attributed to the radical approach in testing.

By stripping the email of the organization-centric template and features and changing the tone of the message to be more conversational, we were able to make the email feel like a traditional email sent personally by the sender. People want to feel like they are being personally engaged and that the appeal is only written to them from Jim Daly. People give to people, not mass marketing machines. This test reinforces that idea.

Moving forward, we will test specific elements of this email to gain an even deeper understanding of what motivates people to give.

Experiment Documented by Courtney Gaines
Courtney Gaines is Vice President at NextAfter.

Question about experiment #8706

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