For a few days last week our fundraising appeal was featured on the Firefox snippet which gave us a chance to test one of the new donation forms we are developing ahead of our end of year appeal in 2014.
How you design and build a donation form, and how you ask people for donations are two factors that when combined impact whether or not you raise the money you need for the cause you care about; in our case, the Mozilla Foundation! And ultimately, protecting the free and open web.
We have lots of ideas about things we think could improve our donation forms so that more Mozilla supporters (like you, I hope!) make it through the process. But I can tell you from experience testing donation forms over many years that the things you think will work, sometimes make things worse. So you have to keep a close eye on the data, and use it to guide your decisions.
Here’s the old form and the new form we tested:
The New Form…
- Increased total conversion rate by 32% (from 5% to 6.7%)
- Increased total income by 6% (from $482 to $514 per 1000 unique visitors)
- Shifted the balance of PayPal (PP) to Credit Card (CC) payment type from ~50% PP to ~70% PP
- Reduced CC conversion (-22%) and reduced CC income (-30%)
- Increased PP conversion (+85%) and increased PP income (+51%)
- Reduced the average gift by 20% (from $9.51 to $7.64)
Hypothesis: Some donors who would have donated by card see the PayPal option, and switch to this instead (potential cause of CC decline) and some additional more ‘casual’ donors are more likely to engage because the PP option reduces friction for them (hence the significant increase in PP). To be clear, this is just a hypothesis at this point in the time.
To dig deeper into the data and particularly the reduced average gift amount, we looked at the distribution of donation amounts by payment type.
The new form had relatively little effect on the more committed donors ($5-50) but had significant impact on the smaller gifts (<5$). Perhaps these are more casual or more cautious donors who were happier to make a donation of this size via PayPal. This could be because they trust PayPal, or they found it more convenient (quicker).
In this case, the decline in average gift looks like we engaged an additional broader audience who donate at a lower price point rather than the design of the form encouraging most donors to give a bit less on average. Which is good news.
The bottom line is that using this new form should raise about 6% more donations in total than if we’d stuck with the old one. Over the course of December that will add up to tens of thousands of extra dollars to fund our projects.
Expect more updates like this from us soon. We will be testing our fundraising ideas (and ourselves) every day through of our end of year campaign.
We have an ambitious fundraising target this year, and we need to continually learn from our data and adapt our campaign to reach our goals for the year.