The Fund for American Studies

How a visual match reinforcement affects year-end giving

Experiment ID: #79124

The Fund for American Studies

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 12/10/2021 - 01/01/2022

For TFAS’ calendar-year-end campaign, we wanted to create a visual reinforcement for the matching gift. The goal is to have a visual representation of how a donor’s impact is doubled by the matching gift when they give during the year-end campaign. In this particular case we used a numerical visual representation that would instantly change as the prospective donor selected a different amount in the gift array. When someone selected $50, the counter would show a $100 impact. If $100 was selected, the counter would display a $200 impact, etc. We hypothesized that this visual representation would increase both donor conversion rate and revenue.

Research Question

We believe that providing a visual representation for a matching gift for prospective donors will achieve a higher donor conversion rate and revenue.


C: Control
T1: Match Counter


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control 4.4% $0.00
T1: Match Counter 4.9% 11.6% 22.9% $0.00

This experiment has a required sample size of 13,228 in order to be valid. Unfortunately, the required sample size was not met and a level of confidence above 95% was not met so the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

Though this experiment did not fully validate, there was a directional decrease and enough evidence to indicate that this visual representation did not result in a higher donor conversion rate, nor did it inspire a higher average gift. There was a 62% directional decrease in revenue through this experiment. The speculation is that the visual number doubling, may have been confusing for some prospective donors and perhaps felt like they were donating $100 instead of $50. Another way we can test this concept in the future is to test the doubling of the gift through a visual representation on a thermometer instead.

Notable changes to other metrics due to the experiment:

  • Revenue experienced a 62.8% decrease with a 92% level of confidence.

Observations of the impact on other visitor segments in the experiment:

  • Email visitors had a 53.5% decrease in donations with a 98% level of confidence.
  • New visitors had a 54.9% decrease in donations with a 93% level of confidence.
  • Mobile visitors had an 84.4% decrease in donations with a 100% level of confidence.
  • Referral visitors had a 100.0% increase in donations with a 100% level of confidence.
  • Male visitors had an 87.5% decrease in donations with a 100% level of confidence.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #79124

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