Fundraising 2011/Test Updates/July

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July 1, 2011 Judy Appeal Test[edit]

We’ve tested our first fundraising appeal from a Wikimedia donor. During the 2010 campaign, Judy Mollica left a story on our thank you page about how Wikipedia was her resource for critical information when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. We tested two versions of her appeal (one US appeal and one appeal outside the US) against our control Jimmy appeal. We tested four variations of Judy's banner, with the titles of Wikipedia “reader,” “supporter,” “user,” and “donor.”

Judy Banner


  • There was not a big difference in click through rate between the banners, but “reader” and “user” seemed to perform slightly better than “supporter” or “donor”.
  • Judy’s banner and Jimmy’s banner had similar click through rates, but Jimmy’s written appeal brought in significantly more donations.

We think there are some key elements from our successful Jimmy and previous Brandon Harris appeal that we could include in Judy’s appeal to increase the effectiveness of her message. People definitely responded to Judy's letter. While Judy's appeal was running, a lot of readers wrote in really warm comments about how powerful her story was. But we think that because it didn't spend a lot of time pitching for donations, it didn't do as well as others from our previous tests. Keep in mind, Judy's appeal was just one example of the many many different kinds of donor stories we receive everyday. Even within Judy's appeal, there are numerous variations we could test.

Key Elements to Test

  • Relate Judy’s story more closely to Wikipedia to really emphasize the importance of Wikipedia.
  • Include more practical information about why Wikipedia needs money.
  • Include the importance of Wikipedia staying ad-free in the appeal.

Test Reports

US Test

  • File:C_JMvJD_Junetest_US.pdf
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JM_USL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JM = Jimmy Banner
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JD2_USL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JD2 = Judy "Reader" Banner
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JD1_USL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JD1 = Judy "Supporter" Banner

EN Test

  • File:C_JMvJD_Junetest_EN.pdf
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JM_ENL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JM = Jimmy Banner
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JD3_ENL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JD3= Judy "Donor" Banner
  • B_JMvJD_Junetest_JD4_ENL11_JMvJD_Junetest_JD4 = Judy "User" Banner

July 8, 2011 Steven Walling Appeal Test[edit]

In our latest test, we put a new appeal from Steven Walling up against Jimmy's founder appeal. Steven is currently on staff at the Wikimedia Foundation but he is also a long time contributor. We wanted to isolate the effect of his title, so we ran his same appeal text from two different banners, one calling him a “staffer” and the other calling him an “author.”

Steven "staffer" Banner


  • Steven’s “staffer” appeal performed at nearly the same level as Jimmy’s appeal.
  • Steven’s “author” appeal brought in about 20% as many donations as Jimmy’s appeal.
  • Steven's "author" appeal had lower click rate and donation rate than the "staffer" appeal.
  • The appeal text was the same, the only difference being Steven’s title.

This test is encouraging because we've found another Wikipedian's story to tell that performs similar to Jimmy's appeal. We still need to do some work to test new variations of his title.

Next steps

  • We’re coming up with new titles to test for editor appeals. During the 2010 campaign, we tested Wikipedia “editor,” “author,” “contributor,” and “volunteer,” with “author” coming out ahead.
  • We're in the process of interviewing editors to gather a variety of personal Wikipedia stories that can be tested as fundraising appeals.


July 15, 2011 Ryan Kaldari Test[edit]

Kaldari Banner Images

At this stage in our testing, we’ve found a few successful staff appeals and we’re now looking for effective editor appeals.

Ryan Kaldari is a developer at the Wikimedia Foundation. Before working at the Foundation, he was a volunteer developer and editor for several years. We interviewed Ryan about his volunteering experience and wrote a few different versions of his appeal to test. One version used almost all of Kaldari’s own personal statements, word for word. Another version still used Kaldari’s statements but was slightly more polished and formal and started with the first line, "Wikipedia is the most amazing project that has been created in our generation." The third version was also more edited and had the first line, "Wikipedia makes me feel like I live in the future."' We also tested a variety of banners with different photos of Kaldari and a couple different colored backgrounds.


  • The appeal written using almost all of Kaldari’s own words performed the best in terms of both number of donations and amount raised (between 45-55% increase over the other two versions).
  • The banner with the plain white background had a higher click rate than the banners with the grey and red backgrounds.
  • The banner with Kaldari’s photo cropped in on his face and shoulders had a higher click rate than the banners zoomed out including his arms and torso.

Next Steps

We want to use this practice of interviewing and using personal statements from those interviews to write fundraising appeals. We’re looking for volunteers who are passionate about the work they do and can talk about why people should donate to the Wikimedia Foundation. If you’re interested, please let us know! You can email us at

Thanks. Mhernandez 06:57, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Raw Statistics[edit]

US test - 6 Banners
bannerlp impressions views donations amount amount50 click_rate don_per_imp amt_per_imp amt50_per_imp
"arms crossed smiling" 636956 8204 34 648.00 598.00 0.012948 0.000062 0.001169 0.001095
"red background" 635692 8060 32 651.33 601.33 0.012801 0.000057 0.001058 0.000984
"smiling shoulders, no arms" 634199 8825 30 800.00 650.00 0.014201 0.000057 0.001501 0.001279
"grey arms crossed" 636944 7882 40 660.00 610.00 0.012379 0.000069 0.001912 0.001370
"hands on hips" 637247 7790 44 1330.00 980.00 0.012419 0.000089 0.002772 0.002123
"white arms crossed" 635336 8411 42 803.33 753.33 0.013225 0.000074 0.001410 0.001336
US test - 2 Landing Pages
lp views donations total_clicks amount50 don_per_view amt_per_view amt50_per_view
"Future" 25089 96 96 1849.33 0.004347 0.095676 0.084841
"Kaldari's exact words" 24080 126 126 2343.33 0.006172 0.162119 0.129318
EN test - 2 Landing Pages
lp views donations total_clicks amount50 don_per_view amt_per_view amt50_per_view
"Amazing project in our generation" 8596 8 8 203.76 0.001012 0.026391 0.026112
"Kaldari's exact words" 8392 17 17 324.27 0.001997 0.037383 0.037240