How disclosing the amount raised affects conversion Experiment ID: #4995

Dallas Theological Seminary

The DTS mission is, “to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide.” They strive to help men and women fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, or more simply: Teach Truth. Love Well.

Experiment Summary

Timeframe: 9/18/2016 - 9/20/2016

Dallas Theological Seminary was raising money in honor of North Texas Giving day, and had a group of donors pledge $50,000 if they could raise $50,000 in a week.

They had written an email to existing donors that was very personal in tone, and wanted to test the impact of telling the donors how much had been raised up to that point. They created a treatment email that included a single extra line of copy:

“As of right now, we’ve already raised half of that amount.”

They split the donor file and sent one treatment to each segment to see if they could quantify the impact of this single statement.


Research Question

Will stating progress towards a goal in an email appeal affect donor conversion?

MECLABS Conversion Factors Targeted

C = 4m + 3v + 2( i - f) - 2a ©

Copyright 2015, MECLABS


C: No Amount Raised
T1: With Amount Raised


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: No Amount Raised 33.3%
T1: With Amount Raised 76.9% 130.8% 99.3%

This experiment has a required sample size of 10 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 31, 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
× 130.8% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

This experiment had a limited sample size due to the targeted nature of the experiment. While we were able to reach a statistically significant result, it should be noted that this small number of conversions could be causing sample size distortion and should be tested again with a larger segment of donors.

The treatment copy with the goal increased conversion by 130.8%, which shows that giving donors specific details about the campaign increases the likelihood that they will convert.

There’s another force at work here: social proof. Persuasion science shows that people are more likely to get involved in an activity if they know other people are doing it as well. Disclosing the amount implied that many other donors have already given, and gives the current reader (who has not yet given) the opportunity to be the “closer” on the campaign.

This is a powerful learning that can be employed in many different forms to reduce anxiety and increase conversion.

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Experiment Documented by...

Jeff Giddens

Jeff is a Senior Vice President at NextAfter. If you have any questions about this experiment or would like additional details not discussed above, please feel free to contact them directly.