How adding clarity to a donate button affects donor conversion

Experiment ID: #2627


CaringBridge offers free personal, protected websites for people to easily share updates and receive support and encouragement from their community during a health journey. Every 7 minutes, a CaringBridge website is created for someone experiencing a health event.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 03/17/2015 - 03/25/2015

CaringBridge launched a two-week fundraising campaign in March 2015, and was experiencing a higher-than-average refund rate for donations given during this time. From user feedback, it was apparent that donors weren’t sure where their money was going — to the individual or to the organization. The CaringBridge team decided to add a line of text under the donate button that reminded donors that their gift was going to power the organization’s platform, hypothesizing that added clarity would reduce the refund rate.

The following text was added underneath the donation button:

Your tax-deductible donation to CaringBridge powers our non-profit service of providing safe, protected websites for no charge. Every 7 minutes, a new CaringBridge site is created – along with a new compassionate community to surround that individual on their health journey.

Research Question

Will additional language clarify the recipient of the donor and reduce refund rate?


C: Control
T1: Treatment


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Control 5.2%
T1: Treatment 6.9%31.3% 99.4%

This experiment has a required sample size of 1,757 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 9,311, 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
× 31.3% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The treatment with the additional copy below the donate button did not effectively reduce refund rate — but it delivered a 31% lift in conversion! This showed that clarifying the recipient of the gift increased the clarity of the value proposition.  We’ve often heard that “clarity trumps persuasion” — and it proved to be true.

Upon further analysis, it was revealed that a large number of the refunds had come from a single user who had incorrectly promoted the page as a crowdfunding site, which helped to explain the increase in refund rate.

Experiment Documented by Jeff Giddens
Jeff Giddens is President of NextAfter.

Question about experiment #2627

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