How including a small, tangible goal impacted overall donor conversion Experiment ID: #16255

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

Timeframe: 5/20/2019 - 6/2/2019

Buckner International was running an appeal around providing scholarships to foster children in order to go to camp. In the past, we had observed increased results when we used small, tangible goals in our appeal but it had never been tested directly. We decided to run a head-to-head test for this campaign to understand the impact of using these small goals with the Buckner donor file.

For this campaign, we split the full house file in half and send three total emails to each segment. The control segment would not have a goal and the treatment segment would have a goal of sending 10 children to camp. We would then combine the giving across all three messages to validate the results.

Research Question

Does adding a small, tangible goal help motivate donors to make a gift?


C: No Goal
T1: Small Goal


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: No Goal 0.01%
T1: Small Goal 0.03% 119.6% 90.6%

This experiment has a required sample size of 58,769 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 83,841, and the level of confidence is not above 95% the experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

With a 90% level of confidence, we observed a 120% increase in donor conversion by using a small, tangible goal. We generally shoot for a 95% level of confidence but, considering the difference in overall gifts (and revenue), we believe it is safe to say that the small goal had a positive impact on donor conversion.

In the past, when we have used large goals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, they have not been very motivational without being tied to a match. Knowing that we can use a smaller goal to motivate donors will be helpful in future campaigns.

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.