American Cornerstone Institute

How introducing “donor fees” impacts conversion

Experiment ID: #82969

American Cornerstone Institute

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 01/21/2022 - 02/06/2022

As part of the instant donor conversion page for an education survey, ACI wanted to find a way to increase the overall revenue. One of the more popular options for nonprofits is a “donor covers fees.” The software being used, “Anedot,” had this feature so we decided to test it.

Research Question

We believe that allowing donors to pay the credit cards fees for potential donors will achieve and increase in overall revenue.


C: Control
T1: Donor Pays Fees


  Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control 12.0% $0.00
T1: Donor Pays Fees 7.4% -38.5% 100.0% $0.00

This experiment has a required sample size of 314 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 4,194, 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
× 38.5% decrease in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

The biggest impact of the test was a 38.5% decrease in conversion for the “donor pays fees” option. It is worth noting that ~60% of donors opted to cover the fees but this resulted in a 3% increase to their average gift which didn’t make up for the significant decrease in overall giving.

A big takeaway from this experiment was the negative impact that adding transactional language had in the conversion process. Donating is a largely irrational action and introducing transactional language like “fees” resulted in potential donors abandoning the process

Notable changes to other metrics due to the experiment Was that overall revenue experienced a 20.5% decrease with a 95% level of confidence.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #82969

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