The Heritage Foundation

How limiting the number of choices in a giving array affects revenue

Experiment ID: #1334

The Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 06/24/2014 - 08/20/2014

The main donation form for The Heritage Foundation had historically contained 7 different suggested gift amounts and had preselected the monthly recurring gift option. The original theory was that we wanted to address the range of gifts we saw coming in from donors and wanted to encourage them to become monthly donors. In an effort to improve the overall conversion of the form, we wanted to find a way to reduce the decisions donors had to make. At the same time, we did not want to reduce the number of monthly donors or the overall revenue impact that comes with higher average gifts.  This meant we had to monitor multiple factors with this experiment. To test our hypothesis, we created a new treatment with a smaller suggested gift array and preselected the one-time gift option.

Research Question

Does limiting the giving array options and allowing donors to self-select the recurring gift option increase conversion rate and revenue received on the form?


C: 7 Button w/ Recurring Selected
T1: 3 Button w/ Onetime Selected


 Treatment NameRevenue per VisitorRelative DifferenceConfidenceAverage Gift
C: 7 Button w/ Recurring Selected $17.66$82.54
T1: 3 Button w/ Onetime Selected $27.6756.7% 97.0%$122.55

This experiment was validated using 3rd party testing tools. Based upon those calculations, a significant level of confidence was met so these 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
× 5.5% increase in conversion rate
× 48.5% increase in average gift
56.7% increase in revenue

Key Learnings

With an increase in longterm revenue of 56%*, we discovered that the additional gift array buttons were adding cognitive friction for the donors.  Additionally, we discovered that by preselecting the one-time gift option, we received not only more one-time gifts, but more recurring gifts too.  Instead of forcing donors into a monthly giving decision, we allowed them to show their own generosity by selecting recurring giving themselves. 

* The increase in revenue included the immediate gift and the projected revenue from the recurring monthly donors.

Experiment Documented by NextAfter

Question about experiment #1334

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