Fundraising and the power of suggestion

Posted on 10 Feb 2019

By Kerryn Burgess, editor, Our Community Matters

Vander Linden Joost
Joost van der Linden, Our Community data scientist

Our Community researchers have proven how important it is for fundraisers to tailor their suggested donation amounts according to the profile of their particular supporters.

In experiments that looked at the power of suggestion on the online donations website GiveNow (e.g. $25 versus $30), researchers found that bigger and smaller donors tended to cancel each other out. In other words, the benefits of influencing some donors to donate a bit more by suggesting a donation of $30 (instead of, say, $25) are offset by the reduced contributions of donors who might otherwise have donated, say, $50.

The author of the report Optimising Suggested Donations for GiveNow: Money in the Bank or Money on the Table?, data scientist Joost van der Linden, said the takeaway lesson for fundraisers was that it was important to tailor suggested donation amounts according to the organisation's donor profile.

"Setting the suggestions too low when your donor demographics include many high-value donors will likely leave money on the table, while setting the suggestions too high when your donors mostly donate small amounts will likely result in donors being turned off and refraining from donating altogether," he said.

Become a member of ICDA – it's free!