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Nonprofits rely on donations to get their work done. Will adding a donate button to every email, regardless of the content within, increase donations or drive those donors away? Find out in this episode of The Cro Show.

Watch this episode of The Cro Show, a game show for conversion rate optimization and marketing experimentation fans, and see if you can guess which test variation performed better during a recent Cro Metrics client experiment.

Full Transcript:

Philippa Boyes: Hi.

So I’m going to be walking you through a test that we ran with one of our nonprofit clients.

They focus primarily on ending homelessness and trafficking, and we ran this on the email channel.

A very simple test – we have been seeing this industry trend of including a donate button in the header of emails, for emails that range from fundraising emails to engagement emails, just like all sorts of all kinds of emails.

And so we wanted to bring that test for this client to see what we were able to increase revenue.

We tested it across different kinds of emails as I mentioned.

So for comparison’s sake, here I have examples of an engagement email, meaning there’s no financial ask to the email.

And then I also included it in the fundraising emails as well.

And I can – I can answer any questions.

Matt Vincent: Sorry, Phil, so this is desktop and mobile, you said?

Philippa Boyes: Yes.

Katie Green: And you ran it over multiple kinds of emails.

Like it was like engagement and fundraising, you’re not just showing us two examples, right?

Philippa Boyes: Yes. Correct.

Katie Green: Yeah. Okay. So it’s across CTAs?

Philippa Boyes: Yeah.

Matt Vincent: Is there there’s a donate now at the bottom as well? Like that standard donate?

Philippa Boyes: Yes. So for both. Yes.

So this footer we have actually tested it too, in the past.

So this is the standard footer that always has a Donate Now button and then the content of the emails will shift, but we wanted to test how to kind of like an evergreen donate button.

Drew Seman: How much fundraising versus engagement content do they send?

You know, they’re kind of always giving this stuff versus just more engaging stuff.

So, you know, maybe fewer opportunities to donate.

Philippa Boyes: Yeah, I would say this is a pretty fundraising happy org.

I would say around 80% of our emails have a fundraising ask and 20% are engagement or cultivation of some kind.

Cara Binsfield: Have we tested into like just general number of CTAs because like that fundraising CTA, it’s like every 5 seconds feels like there’s a donate button.

Philippa Boyes: It is.

We haven’t tested that, that’s something that while I was putting this together I was like, we should test this.

It’s currently best practice so that whenever you scroll you have a donate button, especially on mobile.

But I would like to test that in the future.

Katie Green: The whole point of emails is like try and make it more like a landing page, right?

So I mean, it’s a great question because email is like the direct version of delivering a landing page so I think it’s a great question. Sorry, Phil.

Are we ready to pick who we think?

So, I guess thumbs up if you think the donate in the header won, thumbs down if you think nah.

Matt Vincent: Sorry, and the metric here is actual like a response rate, conversions or clicks to donate?

Philippa Boyes: It is conversions.

Matt Vincent: Okay.

Philippa Boyes: And revenue, thank you.

I’m going to jump over the results.

Flat. Kind of. Basically.

All to say it depends on the kind of email.

What we found was that including the donate button on non fundraising emails did not win.

But when we included it in a fundraising email, it did win.

For the engagement emails, not having the donate button had a 35% increase in revenue and in the fundraising emails we saw a 47% increase in revenue by including that donate button.

The real insight here was that we think including the donate button in a fundraising email will better align with the user’s expectations, and it helps further that sense of authenticity that the ask in the header is actually matching the ask of the email.

And so for – from now on we have been including the donate button in fundraising emails only.

We did see an uptick in unsubscribes when we included the Donate button in the fundraising email.

So what we have done is that the Donate CTA will now only appear to people who have previously donated, meaning if you have never if you have never given before, you will never see that button because we don’t want to overwhelm people.

But that’s why we do a lot of testing on various segments and kinds of emails as well because you always learn fun stuff like this.

Katie Green: Thank you for watching and be sure to subscribe to have more ideas sent directly to your inbox.