The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

How using a faux forward on a high urgency campaign impacts donor conversion rates

Experiment ID: #116778

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are a Roman Catholic congregation of priests and brothers founded after the French Revolution by St. Eugene De Mazenod to work among the poor. Today there are nearly 4,000 missionaries working in more than 60 countries around the world.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 11/29/2022 - 11/29/2022

Giving Tuesday is generally a big day of giving for many non-profits. In order to cut through the noise, non-profits generally use a variety of tactics for their afternoon and evening resends, the most common of which is a faux forward. But does it really work?

For the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, we put that question to the test. For the PM version of their Giving Tuesday emails, across multiple email and donor segments, we tested whether a resend of the AM version (same copy, same subject line) would have as much impact as a faux forward, where the sender is from a different person and it looks like that person is forwarding the original, AM email.

Research Question

We believe that using a faux forward for giving tuesday donors will achieve a change in donor conversion rates.


C: Resend
T1: Faux Forward


 Treatment NameConv. RateRelative DifferenceConfidence
C: Resend 0.06%
T1: Faux Forward 0.10%73.1% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 34,004 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 270,150, 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
× 73.1% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

For the Oblates, the question of whether using a faux forward tactic, during a time of year when everyone is receiving hundreds of emails, works has been answered. There was a huge increase in donor conversion rates from the faux forward, with a 73% increase and a 99.9% level of confidence.

Additionally, this experiment wielded the following interesting points:

  1. While open rates are not a great metric to use for comparison, one of the main points of a faux forward is to get the reader to open the email. The treatment version averaged a 31% open rate, compared to 27% for the resend.
  2. When looking at performance by donor type (donor, recurring donor, non-donor) the lift continues. The donor segments saw a .61% response rate for the faux forward version versus a .5% response rate on the resend. Non-donor response rates also saw similar performance, with a 0.1% response rate on the control versus 0.2% response rate on the faux forward version.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #116778

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