It never hurts to ask…bigger

Posted by alison on November 8th, 2010

Over the last six weeks, GlobalGiving conducted an experiment on your project pages to learn more about donors’ giving behavior.

In the past, the default giving option (the auto-selected button) was always the lowest option on the project page. These giving options are denominations you selected (and can change) when you created your project page.

Hypothesis: If the default giving option was the largest listed amount less than or equal to $30*, then the average donation would increase.


The Good: The higher default value resulted in a 6-10% increase in total volume and average donation size.

The Less Good: With the higher default value, there was a 0.5-2% decrease in conversions (people who completed their donation).

Conclusion: The increase in donor volume makes up for the loss of the smaller donors. Additionally, project pages still have a text box for donors to choose their own giving amount. Project pages will continue to default to the largest donation option less than or equal to $30, and we will continue to learn from more tests.

What does this mean for you? Ask and you shall receive

We believe in the power of small donors and collective giving, but that doesn’t mean every donor has to be a small donor. If a donor is prepared to give $10 to your cause, will they give you $20 if you just ask for it? Will they give you $30? How about $50?

It’s important to know your donor base and not scare them away with your ask. But believe in the value of the work you do. You don’t have to resign yourself to the lowest ask. If all you ask for is “just $10,” then you’re likely to have a lot of donors that give you “just $10”. Emphasize the impact donation amounts (or a regular, recurring donation) can have on your work and ask for it.

It never hurts to ask.

Next Steps:

  • Review your current donation options.
  • If you don’t have a second donation option over $10 and under $30, consider including one. Your default option will change to the higher one, and you might see 6-10% increase in total volume.
  • Evaluate your other donation options. Do you have a diverse variety of amounts?
  • Consider what you’re asking donors for. Does the description of your donation options paint a picture about the activities and impact of your project? If you repeat the same giving option or don’t describe activities, re-evaluate your “ask”. This might appear more compelling to donors who don’t know your work.
*For projects that did not have multiple giving options less than or equal to $30, their tests were the same and excluded from the data. Also excluded from the data were the dates of the Give More Get More Campaign, since donations in that period did not reflect normal giving behavior.

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One Response to “It never hurts to ask…bigger”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RGK Center at UT, Alison McQuade. Alison McQuade said: It Never Hurts to Ask…Bigger: http://tools.blog.globalgiving.org/2010/11/08/it-never-hurts-to-ask-bigger/ […]