Should you worry about the size of your donation form?

October 19 2008 - Mark Phillips

I’ve got to start somewhere, so I’ll ease my way into blogging with a little mythbusting.

We’ve been involved in this over the past year or so as we look at testing some of the weird claims about direct marketing that you just aren’t sure about. I’m sure you are aware of the scenario…

Someone asks a question over a few drinks at a conference and those gathered offer their opinions. One person mentions this to a few colleagues when they return to work, this is passed on a few more times and before long that humble opinion is turned into a cast iron fact worthy of inclusion in the next edition of How to Fundraise.

This week, what works better? A large or small donation form.

Bluefrog has traditionally always used smaller forms on our low value mailings, either A5, A6 or DL depending on format, but word on the street was that we’d raise more with a bigger form.

The test was undertaken with a large traditional cash file that definitely contained a fair number of people with the first name of Dorothy who would go for tea at a National Trust venue on their way home from church on a Sunday afternoon. We tested it on lower and higher value cells. It was a very clean test. Everything apart from the size of the donation form was kept the same. We tested A4 versus A5.

And what did we find?

There was hardly any difference. The larger form generated a slightly higher gift (pennies), but across our test cells, the A5 form generated a response rate that was about 6% (of total response) better than the A4 piece. This meant that the nett income was about 4.8% higher on the pack with the A5 form.

Will you get the same results? I don’t know. But if you fancy increasing the nett income of your next appeal by about 5%, your donation form could be a good place to start.

Isn’t that nice to know?