The Heritage Foundation

How centering an ask around a specific initiative affects donation rates for house file traffic during a Giving Tuesday campaign

Experiment ID: #116803

The Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Experiment Summary

Ended On: 11/30/2022

In an effort to help a public policy client differentiate their message on a day when we know that donors will be inundated with a flood of appeals, we wanted to know how focusing the messaging around a specific initiative would affect donation rates during a one-day Giving Tuesday campaign.

We ran this test for one day, splitting house file traffic between a control that focused on high-level value language and a treatment that focused on supporting a specific initiative.

Research Question

We believe that centering an ask around a specific initiative will increase donation rates during a Giving Tuesday campaign by adding exclusivity and tangibility to the appeal.


C: Control
T1: Treatment #1


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Control 1.1%
T1: Treatment #1 4.1%275.1% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 184 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 2,771, 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
× 275.1% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

After running this experiment for one day, with one email appeal sent in the morning and one in the afternoon, the treatment focusing its messaging around a specific initiative produced a 275% statistically valid lift in donation rates with a 99.9% level of confidence.

We believe that one of the main contributing factors to this result is that focusing the appeal on a specific initiative helps to increase the perceived value of a donor’s gift by adding exclusivity, authority, tangibility, and specificity to the appeal.

The initiative-specific appeal offered a tangible solution to an issue recipients care about by letting them know exactly what their gift would support, and the concrete steps our client would be taking on their behalf to influence the outcome donors desired.

It also leveraged exclusivity by offering a solution that is unique to this organization and authority by making it clear that they would be working with a broad coalition of other influential organizations to get the job done.

Specificity adds texture to the appeal while building trust by not just saying what the organization planned to do but also how they planned to do it.

Finally, we believe all of these elements combined to differentiate the message of the appeal on a day when donors received a large concentration of emails which were typically focused on very high-level messaging containing nearly identical language … ultimately making the treatment appeal stand out from the crowd, hold their prospects’ attention, and motivate them to support the initiative at hand.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #116803

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