Donors more likely to opt in if told others are doing so, study shows

The research was conducted by the behavioural scientist Kiki Koutmeridou and involved asking a sample of 300 adults who had donated to a cancer charity in the past year

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Donors may be more likely to opt in to receive communications if the charity tells them that other people who are like them are also opting in, according to new research.

A week-long study carried out in May by the behavioural scientist Kiki Koutmeridou on behalf of the experience and relationship company DonorVoice found that people were more likely to give consent to receiving charity communications if they were told that other people who were similar to them were also opting in.

Koutmeridou said this option offered donors "social proof", giving them guidance as to how they should behave.

The research, which was presented to a group of 15 fundraisers at an event held at City University in London yesterday, found that giving the donor a strong feeling of control over the frequency and the way they would be contacted could increase the likelihood of them opting in.

Reminding supporters that they had given to or taken action for the charity in the past could also have this effect, the study found, as could accompanying a request for consent with an image of a child looking directly at the person or towards the opt-in box.

The research involved a sample of 300 adults who had donated to a cancer charity in the past year. Participants completed an online survey in which they were shown a series of statements and asked which one they would prefer if it were used by the charity had supported in the past.

The experiment consisted of split testing using more than 46,000 alternative ways of asking for consent. The statements that received the most positive responses were: 

"Thank you for helping this cause in the past." 

"Thousands of people like you receive more information about us. Would you also like to know how your money is used?"

"As a supporter of this cause, please tick this box so we may continue sending you information about our work."

Koutmeridou said participants also responded particularly well to being asked which channel they wished to be contacted on. The study found that the most effective font to use was Calibri.

Koutmeridou also said that although the research was thorough and could serve as a basis for charities to carry out further testing, they should avoid blindly copying these techniques because their effectiveness could vary from organisation to organisation.

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