The “minor detail” in fundraising that can make a big difference

Here’s a report of an excellent head-to-head test, reported at npENGAGE: Is Your Online Donation Form Turning Off Donors?.

It was on an online donation form.

The control:

Askcontrol

The test:

Asktest

Nothing else was different.

The high-to-low test pulled 15.7% decrease in gifts and a 11.3% decrease in average gift, for a total 25.2% drop in revenue. The difference was statistically significant.

That should get our attention.

I hesitate to say high-to-low ask arrays are an automatic no-no in online fundraising. But with results that definitive, I wouldn’t do it except in a test to my own file. And it’s not something I’d feel urgently needs to be confirmed or not.

But here’s the even more important thing to take away from this:

Ask arrays can make a big difference in fundraising.

It seems like a minor detail, but it can have out-size impact on revenue. Online or offline.

Here are some things you should consider testing:

  • More than three asks (I’ve found that usually more asks are better).
  • More random-looking amounts. (Instead of $25, ask for $26).
  • Including at least one very high amount that’s way out of sequence with the others.
  • Trying low amounts (this sometimes has the surprising effect of lifting average gift).
  • The amounts not in order, but scrambled.

Don’t take “the normal way of doing it” for granted. But don’t just change it without knowing the impact of the change. It matters a lot more than it looks like it would.

Let’s talk. I can work with you on getting the details right in your fundraising, online or off. I’m available for free 25-minute coaching sessions. Just click here and directly schedule an online conversation with me or with Sean Triner.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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