Harvest Ministries

How ask amount affects donor conversion in an email fundraising appeal

Experiment ID: #4139

Harvest Ministries

Harvest Christian Fellowship exists to bring Christians closer to God and to bring nonbelievers to a saving relationship with Him by showing how God's Word and faith in Him are applicable and relevant to everyday life.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 05/15/2016 - 05/24/2016

Harvest Ministries sent their mid-month fundraising appeal and wanted to test the size of the gift ask in the copy. This appeal made the direct ask in the copy, and to mirror the direct mail, suggested a gift size of $35, $45, or more. They hypothesized that asking for a larger amount might increase average gift size.

As they were setting this test up, they came up with a new hypothesis — maybe the specific ask, though it worked in direct mail, was too specific. They developed a new hypothesis that asking for a “generous gift of any amount” would increase conversion and overall revenue.

They set up the A/B/C test to test the control against two treatments and closely monitored conversion to determine a winner.

Research Question

Will a higher ask amount or a less specific “generous gift” ask increase donor conversion?


C: $35 ask
T1: $50 ask
T2: Generous Gift ask


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: $35 ask 0.10%
T1: $50 ask 0.05% -52.3% 99.9%
T2: Generous Gift ask 0.14% 43.1% 97.4%

This experiment has a required sample size of 12,823 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 203,864, 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
× 52.3% decrease in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The email with the less-specific ask produced a 43.1% increase in donor conversion, showing that allowing donors to choose their own gift size, in this case, meant that they were more likely to become donors. This ask amount had proven to generate a higher clickthrough rate as well, but clickthrough is not always an indication of intent to give.

It is worth noting, as well, that the less-specific ask amount generated a higher average gift than the control.

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

Question about experiment #4139

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