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On a Mission: Using Digital Marketing to Ignite Donations

April 14, 2020

Symposia worked with a nonprofit based in Grand Rapids, MI to transform their digital communications, leading to an increase in donations and donor engagement.

Opportunity

The organization was seeing a plateau in their donor base. A challenge often found with many other nonprofits, they weren’t achieving the desired impact from just traditional marketing. They were looking for an alternative approach that could be justified by actual data and a true return on investment. It was time to utilize digital marketing as an efficient strategy to increase overall donations to the organization.

Solution

Symposia went beyond traditional marketing by transforming and improving the entire digital experience of our client.

Our process:
  1. Beginning with user research, we determined weak points in their overall user experience.
  2. We found that in a crowded digital medium (the internet), using more direct messaging in our ad components was pivotal to success. 
  3. Lastly, we used tracking and analytics to support optimization decisions that were driven by data.  
Our team successfully strategized and implemented the following for our client:
  • Deployed Google Ads Campaigns to capture high intent consumer traffic for donations
  • Launched Facebook advertising campaigns to gain new donors and retarget existing donors
  • Developed automated emails for specific segments of donors
  • Designed and tested compelling copy and creative to improve brand awareness across all platforms and channels
  • Improved the digital user experience to increase the number of people successfully completing the donation process
  • Developed a customized Google Data Studio dashboard to gather all metrics relevant to the organization and report campaign success

Results

Our campaign successfully achieved the following results for the ministry:
  • ROI (return on investment) increased 4.2x (76%) 
  • Ad spend decreased by 56%
  • Our digital marketing campaigns accounted for 73% of all their online giving
Campaign testing and data also led us to the following conclusions:
  • Including a larger donation amount request in the ad copy proved to get a 43% increase compared to ad copy that asked for a smaller donation amount. When we noticed our average donation was on the lower side, we changed the ad copy to reflect a bigger initial “ask”: 
    • When we asked for a larger amount, the average donation jumped from $60 to $139 per donor
  • Leveraging video ad creative gained a higher number of donations versus static images
  • Testing ad audiences allowed us to narrow down our focus to targets that were more effective in donating. Tests performed included but were not limited to: 
    • Custom lists containing past donors and email subscribers
    • Lookalike audiences designed to reach people who looked similar to likely donors
    • Varying geographic targeting, testing the idea of a wider reach vs. more centrally located prospects 
    • General non-profit interest demographics
  • Automated emails and retargeting ‘Thank you’ Facebook ads were successful in sending targeted messages to donors.

Throughout this process of digital transformation, campaign results proved that Symposia helped improve our client’s brand awareness and maximize incoming donations. We proved that even established organizations can experience an incredible impact with digital marketing – a transformation that allows them to step forward in their mission.