Our data scientists spend a lot of time crunching and analysing numbers. Not just because they’re maths geeks (which they are) but because, by understanding the data, they can help fundraisers raise more money for the causes they care about.
Our prior research confirmed that fundraising pages with targets raise more money than those with a target value of zero. We also know that the fundraising target has to be realistic in order to have a chance of successfully reaching its target. In the past, targets on JustGiving were automatically set to zero and around 45% of people kept their target at zero. So we started thinking how we could encourage people to set a target so that they ultimately raised more for their chosen charity.
Introducing smart targets
Looking at the wealth of data that we have, we set about creating a new smart target value using an algorithm developed by one of our data scientists Antonios Koutsourelis. It calculates and suggests a fundraising target based on lots of data points – all in the blink of an eye. It considers someone’s past fundraising, demographics and the type of event or fundraising challenge they’re doing. For example, if you were running a 10k and had run a marathon in the past, the new smart target would most likely be around £200 to £250.
In order to be able to tell whether our smart target would help people raise more money, we created three test groups:
- Zero target group – people in this group were set a £0 fundraising target, so it was up to them to decide how much money they thought they could raise.
- Random target group – people in this group were given a random fundraising target (within a reasonable range) in number lots of 50’s, for example £250 or £300.
- Smart target group – people in this group were given an intelligent target value based on our smart algorithm.
Around 70,000 fundraising pages were tested and these were the results:
- People were more likely to reach their fundraising goal when given a smart target vs a random target (37.3% vs 32.1%).
- People were more likely to create a fundraising page when they were given a smart target vs a zero or random target. The dropout rate (the rate at which people drop out of the page creation process) was 1.3% less for the smart target vs the zero target and 1% less vs the random target.
- People were less likely to change the smart target vs the random target. The probability of the fundraiser changing the value was 65.4% for the smart target and 72.6% for the random target.
Essentially, what this means is that by applying a smart target to a fundraiser’s page, they are less likely to change the target and more likely to reach their target. This is significant for charities as our research also shows that fundraisers who reach or exceed their target are much more likely to want to fundraise again in the future.
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