Illinois Policy Institute

How direct donation asks in an email impact performance

Experiment ID: #6186

Illinois Policy Institute

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 02/16/2017 - 02/21/2017

As part of their February appeal, the Illinois Policy Institute was going to be sending a solicitation to their house file. Historically, the appeals had often used a softer call-to-action with the goal of getting more subscribers to the landing page for potential donor conversion. However, we had the hypothesis that by using the softer call-to-action of “learn more,” we may be losing the interest of people that would be more inclined to make a donation. We decided to split the file in half and test a direct ask in the email vs. the standard “Learn more” approach. The learnings from this test could then inform future appeals.

Research Question

How will a direct ask in an email impact overall donor conversion?


C: Soft Call to Action
T1: Direct Asks


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Soft Call to Action 0.06%
T1: Direct Asks 0.20%246.1% 99.2%

This experiment has a required sample size of 4,683 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 19,137, 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
× 246.1% increase in conversion rate
× 10.7% decrease in average gift
209.0% increase in revenue

Key Learnings

The direct ask in the email resulted in a 246.1% lift to donor conversion rate. What is interesting is that the direct ask also resulted in a statistically significant 67% decrease in the number of visitors to the donation page. What this shows is that the direct ask for a donation is not as widely appealing as the “learn more” approach but it drove the right kind of visitors to the page; those subscribers that were more likely to make a gift.

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

Question about experiment #6186

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