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How Capital Area Food Bank Increased Donor Covered Fees and Conversion Rates


To provide equitable access to food and opportunity to people struggling with hunger and food insecurity


Connect and appeal to donors during a period of rising food costs


Increase donor covered fees on their Classy donation page to inspire larger gifts that help cover the costs of inflation

Flexibility in the Classy platform enables us to test, iterate, and execute new fundraising strategies.

– Mary Beth Healy, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer

The Results With Increased Donor Covered Fees:


increase in conversion rate


of donors covered the higher fees


more donors opted for the higher fees over the normal fees

Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) supports the greater Washington D.C. region, including Virginia and Maryland. Each year, Capital Area sources and distributes more than 50 million meals. Every dollar donated provides two meals for those in need. 

Run Tests With Your Donors 

Over the past year, food prices have continued to climb, along with the number of people going hungry due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, including high inflation.

CAFB’s strategy is to relate to donors on a human level to inspire greater levels of giving. Their philosophy is that we’re all experiencing rising food costs, so it’s our joint responsibility to support each other through these challenging times. 

To optimize their giving experience for maximum donation potential, CAFB conducted a formal A/B test with the help of DonorVoice to identify impactful tweaks they can make to their donation site to raise more.

Giving is a two-step mental process. First, will I give? Second, how much? The how much part is highly context-dependent and it’s where behavioral design on your forms can make all the difference.

Kevin Schulman

Founder at Donor Voice

Testing Increased Donor Covered Fees

CAFB found that, on average, the organization’s food costs increased by 13%. In the fall of 2022, they tested two variations of an email campaign to see which inspired more people to cover a larger percentage of processing fees to help offset the costs of inflation. Both emails linked to a Classy donation website, which typically includes a checkbox to cover the 3% processing fees. For this test, that checkbox was raised to 13%.

One email detailed the story of a client, talking about the food accessibility challenges she was facing, and the other mentioned the current inflation struggles alongside the client’s story.

The original email, which omitted mention of inflation, had a higher click-through rate, conversion rate, and average gift size. Hearing about this beneficiary’s personal experience inspired action, whereas general dialogue about inflation seemed to distract donors from the powerful story.   

Testing Covered Fees on a Larger Scale

After the success of their email test, the CAFB team decided to run a similar test on their homepage. For one month, 50% of donors were shown the 13% covered fees option on the donation page, while the other 50% of donors were shown the typical 3%. 

Capital Area Food Bank donation page
Capital Area Food Bank Donation Page

The only change to the donation page was the covered fees, and the results were that the donation page with 13% covered fees had a higher conversion rate and higher average gift size. Since then, they’ve stuck with 13% covered fees.

On our Classy donation page, we increased the donor covered fees checkbox from 3% to 13% during a time of rising food costs. That small change made a huge impact, and we were able to support more clients with each donation.

Mary Beth Healy

Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer

Providing the Space to Share and Test Ideas 

One conclusion as to why the 13% covered fee tests were so successful could be attributed to the fact that inflation affects everyone, so it was easy to appeal to individuals and make that connection to their own personal lives. This test proves that if you’re willing to change small elements, they can unlock new avenues to raise more with less effort than creating an entirely new fundraising strategy. 

Right now, the CAFB team is deciding what’s next for their organization. Whether it’s inflation, the political climate, or natural disasters – all things that directly affect those that CAFB serves – testing and coming up with creative ideas is imperative to get donors’ attention and make meaningful connections.

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