How asking non-donors to be one of a few donors to give a specific amount impacted donor conversion rate during a matching gift campaign Experiment ID: #22983

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

Ended On: 8/4/2020

As a part of The Heritage Foundation’s matching gift campaign (called “The Board Challenge”), we wanted to experiment with the ask amount and approach. Typically, the organization has used “make your best gift today” kind of language within their control copy.

In an attempt to set a smaller, more reasonable target, we wanted to experiment with driving non-donors to be “one of just X donors we need today to make a gift of Y.

The idea behind this is to (a) set a relevant ask amount for the non-donors, but also (b) allow them to see that they can help achieve a “small quantity” goal at that amount, as well.

Research Question

How does communicating a specific quantity of non-donors we’re asking to make a first membership-qualifying gift impact donor conversion or revenue?


Treatment Name Conv. Rate Relative Difference Confidence
C: Large goal 0.06%
T1: "One of a few" 0.09% 44.3% 100.0%

This experiment has a required sample size of 75,459 in order to be valid. Since the experiment had a total sample size of 782,259, 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
× 44.3% increase in conversion rate
× 0% increase in average gift

Key Learnings

With a 99.9% level of confidence, we observed a +44.3% increase in donor conversion rate from non-donors with this approach.

We also observed that 36% of the non-donors within the treatment segment gave more than the amount we asked them to, with another 58% giving exactly what we asked for (totaling 94%)!

Conclusion: Without a doubt, this was a verified technique to activate first-time donors with a membership-qualifying gift amount. This should be implemented in every campaign moving forward (for this segment).

Experiment Documented by...

Greg Colunga

Greg is Executive 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.