Innovation Lab > Whitepaper: Optimising Suggested Donations for GiveNow

Optimising Suggested Donations for GiveNow:

Money in the bank or money on the table?

By Joost van der Linden, Data Scientist at Our Community

In this project, Our Community's Innovation Lab explores how suggested donations influence giving, and how not-for-profit causes can increase their giving by altering these suggested amounts.

In the past, we based the default suggested donation amounts on our extensive experience with fundraising, as well as feedback from the organisations that use GiveNow to raise money. While the default values had worked well (GiveNow has raised close to $100 million dollars over its 15-year history) we were intrigued by the possibility of boosting donations by changing the suggested amounts.

There is some evidence in academic literature that donors are influenced by suggested donations. We wondered if there might be some "optimal" suggested donation values (not too high as to turn people off, not too low as to leave money on the table) that would maximise the total amount raised by an organisation using GiveNow. We set out to answer these questions.

Summary of our findings

Tweaking suggested donation amounts on a GiveNow cause page tends to create a self-cancelling effect - the benefits of influencing some donors to donate a bit more are offset by those who donate less than they otherwise would have. However, individual causes can tailor donation amounts to suit the particular profile of their donors (e.g. period since last donation) to maximise their fundraising income.

For a more detailed discussion of the experimental setup, ethical/privacy considerations and detailed results, read our White Paper below.

Download Optimising Suggested Donations for GiveNow: Money in the bank or money on the table? (1423kb)