The impact of Scripture in an appeal Experiment ID: #12731

Buckner International

Buckner International is a global ministry dedicated to the transformation and restoration of the lives we serve. We are a Christ-centered organization that delivers redemptive ministry to the most vulnerable from the beginning to the ending of life.

Experiment Summary

Ended On: 3/18/2019

Buckner International had seen success with recent communications by leaning heavily into scripture. As a Christian organization, they would incorporate scripture verses into their cultivation emails and even had an acquisition offer that focused on scripture. With this in mind, we had the hypothesis that using scriptures in our appeals may increase the reader’s sense of duty which would then increase the likelihood to respond.

However, we wanted to be sure it wasn’t isolated to a single email. To do this, we split the house file equally among donors and nondonors and maintained this split through the whole campaign. We then three distinct emails, each with a scripture and non-scripture, version to measure the impact on the gifts.

Research Question

Will using scripture in an appeal increase donor response rates?


C: No Scripture
T1: With Scripture


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: No Scripture 0.03%
T1: With Scripture 0.03% 27.8% 46.5%

This experiment has a required sample size of 434,181 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

After sending three different emails with both scripture and non-scripture versions, we did not see any statistically significant increase in donor conversion. In fact, the only email that showed any increase in giving was the initial email sent to the file (shown above). It is also worth pointing out that the control emails did not omit mentions of God, they simply did not directly incorporate scripture.

This is a fascinating learning as it tells us that we do not need to directly reference scripture in order to invoke the donors’ sense of duty.

Experiment Documented by...

Kevin Peters

Kevin is the Chief Technology Officer 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.