This past December, KLRU, an Austin, TX based PBS member station, in partnership with PBS National, signed on with ExactAsk—and just 16 business days later, saw a 76% increase in campaign donations by changing the donation amount using the ExactAsk software.

What is ExactAsk?

ExactAsk is a predictive analytics software that quickly analyzes each individual donor to predict the largest dollar amount a nonprofit can reasonably expect from each donor in response to their next campaign. It can be used for any type of fundraising campaign (i.e. renewals, upgrades, lapsed donor reactivation) and within any direct marketing channel (i.e. email, direct mail, telethons, Facebook). ExactAsk allows nonprofits to get the most value out of their donor base without adding more work to a fundraising team’s jam-packed schedule.

Testing ExactAsk at KLRU

KLRU decided to test ExactAsk along with PBS National during an end of year email campaign using their regular copy and email lists, that would be sent to their database of non-major donors.

Within 2 days of creating their ExactAsk account, KLRU received their complete analysis based on data uploaded about their donors from Raiser’s Edge. They then uploaded the CSV file to their marketing platform, which included Donor ID’s and ask amounts for each ID on the email target list, and inputted the generated ask amounts into the emails and associated landing pages.


To better gauge the value generated from ExactAsk, the target email list was divided randomly into 2 groups: a Control group and a Treatment group. Each group was confirmed to have nearly identical past giving behavior; both had given the same number of donations in the past and had similar average gift sizes.


Despite having the same content, send schedule, and donor profile, the donors in the Treatment group—the group that received the ExactAsk amount—gave 76% more money in individual donations over the Control group and grew their gift size 100% more than the Control group. In addition, KLRU made an additional $3,124 using the ask amounts from ExactAsk. At a cost of 10 cents per predicted ask amount, KLRU received an ROI of over 400%.

KLRU was able to achieve these results in a matter of 16 days simply by changing the ask amount; their normal campaign process remained virtually the same. The results demonstrate the benefits of experimentation with new email marketing tools and should encourage stations to test new approaches outside their traditional email marketing mix in order to maximize donor revenue online.

To learn more about ExactAsk and KLRU, read the full case study.

Natasha Hilton | Senior Associate | Development Services

*Originally posted on the PBS SPI Blog