The Fund for American Studies

How focusing on what the donor wants to accomplish impacted donor conversion rate

Experiment ID: #40852

The Fund for American Studies

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 11/25/2020 - 12/13/2020

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) was readying themselves to launch their year-end campaign—and did the logical thing first: To grab last year’s page and use that as a starting point for this year’s campaign (because last year was rather successful).

In reviewing last year’s campaign page—they noticed just how “organizationally-centered” that language really rang. The page from last year really focused on what TFAS (the organization) intended to accomplish—not what the donor believed, or was attempting to solve (with their year-end gift).

Therefore, they wanted to experiment with a more donor-focused message that was relevant for the current mindset that their audience is feeling.

Research Question

We believe that focusing the message on what the donor wants to accomplish with their year-end gift for TFAS Supporters will achieve an increase in donor conversion rate.


C: organizationally-centered page
T1: donor-centered page


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: organizationally-centered page 12.7%
T1: donor-centered page 27.2% 113.6% 99.2%

This experiment has a required sample size of 58 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 213, 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
× 113.6% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

With a 99.4% level of confidence, we observed an increase of +119.4% in donor conversion rate for the “donor-centered” treatment against the “organizationally-centered” language of the control experience.

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

  • Desktop visitors had a 225.0% increase in donations with a 100% level of confidence.
  • Email visitors had a 58.8% increase in donations with an 86% level of confidence.
  • New visitors had a 134.1% increase in donations with a 95% level of confidence.
  • Returning visitors had a 114.3% increase in donations with a 96% level of confidence.

Executive Summary:

Many donation pages focus largely on the needs of the organization. It’s just human nature … we sit close to what we (as an organization) are doing, and where the funding priorities of our critical work must be at to maintain or expand the good work that we’re able to do.

However, too often the donor is uninspired (unless thoroughly cultivated throughout the year) by this type of message. When possible, experimenting with what the DONOR believes and wants to accomplish with their philanthropic gifts can have a profound impact on getting more donors to say “YES” to your appeals.

Where you’re able to—consider experimenting with channeling the donor’s mindset and focus on writing a message in your donation page(s) that speaks directly to their beliefs, goals, and aspirations.

Experiment Documented by Greg Colunga
Greg Colunga is Executive Vice President at NextAfter.

Question about experiment #40852

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