How giving the donor autonomy during a match affects conversion rate

Experiment ID: #81889


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

Ended On: 01/11/2022

As CaringBridge was preparing to launch their holiday appeal, they wanted to test integrating the concept of autonomy in how they asked donors to give when their gift was matched. Traditionally, they would ask the donors to give and tell them their gift would be matched. But they decided to add a second layer to this by asking the donor to “allow the Board to match their gift”.

The hypothesis is that giving the donor more autonomy—or power in the transaction—would increase giving.

They split their email file to test the concept.

Research Question

We believe that giving the donor autonomy for prospective donors will achieve an increase in conversion rate.


C: Control
T1: Treatment #1


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Control 0.29%
T1: Treatment #1 0.32% 9.6% 62.3%

This experiment has a required sample size of 303,849 in order to be valid. Unfortunately, the required sample size was not met and a level of confidence above 95% was not met so the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

The treatment produced a slight increase in conversion rate, but not to a statistically valid level.

In the control, the offer to the donor is to “get their gift matched”. But autonomy puts more power in the donor’s hands—so the treatment copy gave the donor the POWER to allow the Board to match their gift. In essence, it placed the Board in a position of servitude to the donor, rather than making them the most important (and generous) part of the transaction.

This will be re-tested in future campaigns.

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

Question about experiment #81889

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