How inviting donors to contribute to a matching gift affects revenue Experiment ID: #20063

Leadership Institute

Experiment Summary

Ended On: 2/25/2020

Leadership Institute was running a special “pre-Giving Tuesday” campaign as the initial part of their year-end campaign. The team wanted to test whether offering donors the opportunity to contribute to a matching gift would inspire more generosity, as opposed to a traditional matching gift as an incentive (as had traditionally been done). They developed two series of emails and split donors by previous giving amounts to run each through a three-email campaign leading up to Giving Tuesday to determine which approach resulted in more gifts and revenue.

Research Question

How will the opportunity to contribute to a matching gift affects conversion versus a traditional matching gift?


C: Control
T1: Treatment #1


Treatment Name Revenue per Visitor Relative Difference Confidence Average Gift
C: Control $0.43 $123.98
T1: Treatment #1 $0.76 75.0% 94.4% $223.71

This experiment was validated using 3rd party testing tools. Based upon those calculations, a significant level of confidence was not met so these experiment results are not valid.

Key Learnings

In terms of conversion, there was no statistical difference between the two approaches. Given the same size of housefile recipients, the incentive to “be the match” did not get more people to give. However, a deeper look at the data showed that the “be the match” effort had a large, if not statistically significant effort on average gift size. This approach may have unlocked larger gifts due to the elevated importance it placed on the donor. Since many donors, especially those at LI, are trained to understand that matching gift sizes are usually $10,000+, there may have been a motivation to give more to join a “larger giving group”. However, it should be noted that with only 114 gifts between the two campaigns, the sample size is relatively small. This approach (which is somewhat limited in its application abilities) should be tested with a larger sample size and a higher expected number of total gifts.

Experiment Documented by...

Jeff Giddens

Jeff is the 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.