Big Dog Ranch — Great Give 2017

Exhibited by
Derrick Feldmann, Achieve
February 20, 2020
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

The level of research, application and strategy of this campaign was phenomenal. Achieve’s fundraisers held a detailed analysis of how previous Big Dog Ranch campaigns had run and then applied those findings to perfecting the Great Give 2017 campaign. Fundraising is all about learning from history, in addition to marshalling new technologies, and what Achieve did was learn from their client’s own past to perfect its present.

Creator / originator

Big Dog Ranch and the agency Achieve

Summary / objectives

Big Dog Ranch Rescue, the largest no-kill shelter in southeastern Florida, sought Achieve’s expertise in reaching their goal of raising US$50,000 on the 24-hour online giving day, Great Give 2017. After an initial in-depth discovery and analysis phase, the Achieve team devised and implemented a multi-week, multi-channel strategic plan to reach the goal and unlock an additional US$50,000 in matched funds. 


Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s mission is to be a leader in the national animal welfare movement through compassionate, innovative rescue practices and transformative educational programmes. Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s goal is to save as many last-day dogs as possible.

Though the organisation often runs successful “urgent need” campaigns in addition to their regular fundraising and events, past results of single-day giving campaigns such as #GivingTuesday and Great Give 2016 were mixed.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue approached agency Achieve to create and implement a strategy for the Great Give 2017 with a giving day goal of US$50,000, before a dollar-for-dollar match. Achieve decided on a Great Give strategy that included a multi-week, multi-channel campaign that leveraged email, social media, advanced donor cultivation, stewardship and more to reach Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s goal. 

Prior to devising the Great Give campaign strategy and plan, the agency undertook an initial in-depth analysis of Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s current digital landscape (audience makeup, engagement levels, behaviours and more on their digital channels) as well as tactics and results of four of the organisation’s recent fundraising campaigns (two recent urgent need appeals, #GivingTuesday 2016 and the Great Give 2016) to better understand:

  • The demographics, size and engagement level(s) of Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s online audiences

  • The demographics, size and engagement level(s) of Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s donor segments

  • The types of messaging that resonated with audiences

  • The types of messaging that didn’t resonate with audiences

  • What factors made ‘urgent need’ appeals so successful

  • What factors contributed to the mixed results of past giving day campaigns 

Special characteristics

From there a four-week strategy was designed to build awareness of and excitement for the organisation’s participation in the giving day, as well as secure pledges and/or donations ahead of time. For this campaign, the Achieve team focused primarily on digital tactics (web, email, social ads, re-targeting, organic content and paid content), while Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s team took on the important role of advance donor cultivation and stewardship efforts (individual phone calls and emails) that would secure interest and pledges leading up to and on the day of the Great Give 2017. In addition, concept testing  was undertaken during the first two weeks of the campaign to ensure messaging and creative resulted in audience engagement and donor cultivation. 

Theme: Save 500 Last-Day Dogs in 30 Days

Rather than speaking to a large monetary amount, this campaign featured messaging that showed donors how their dollars translate into resources for dogs – resources that not only save lives, but enrich them. This campaign used Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s largest impact level, US$100, which saves the life of one dog by providing food, shelter and basic medical care. Using this impact level, the campaign goal of US$50,000 equalled 500 dogs – which served as the goal metric across all tactics and platforms.

In addition, as many materials as possible communicated the availability of matching funds to the donor. This helped Big Dog Ranch Rescue meet its Great Give 2017 goal, as each donor gift had twice the impact. 

For the Great Give 2017 campaign, the Achieve team devised the strategy, content and design for the following campaign components: analyses of both the digital landscape and past campaigns; the website, including new graphics for the homepage, donation page and elements such as online donation tracking; the creation and sending of eight distinct emails, each segmented into four donor groups; and the creation and management of Big Dog Ranch’s social media presence, notably on Facebook.

  • Creation of Big Dog Ranch Rescue Facebook Business Manager account

  • Creation of Big Dog Ranch Rescue Facebook pixel (base code and appropriate event codes)

  • Installation and testing of Facebook base code pixel on every page of Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s website and of event code pixels on their unique pages

  • Creation of custom audiences from Big Dog Ranch Rescue’s email lists and based on data captured from Facebook pixels

  • Updates to custom audiences weekly based on new data acquired by Facebook pixels

  • Optimisation of Facebook ads for desktop, mobile and off-network delivery

  • Creation and launch of six ad sets to four custom audiences (24 total) pre-Great Give; continuous refinement of ads based on audience response

  • Creation of milestone graphics

  • Creation and launch of four day-of ad sets targeting each custom audience

  • Creation and boost of two day-of organic posts

  • Support of Big Dog Ranch Rescue team onsite at City Place Takeover on the Great Give

  • Creation of post-Great Give thank-you post 


As the below table shows, the results of the campaign vastly exceeded expectations and the previous levels.

Additional highlights:

  • Exceeded the US$50,000 goal by more than three times (including donations, pledges, the match and an in-kind prize)

  • Raised nearly US$175,000 more than Great Give 2016 and over US$150,000 more than #GivingTuesday 2016

  • Acquired 173 new donors through Great Give campaign

  • Converted 188 lapsed donors to donors 

  • 88% of pre-Great Give donations converted directly from email or Facebook/Instagram (68% from email; 20% from social)

  • 65 per cent of all Great Give donations converted directly from email (322 donations out of 584)

  • Won US$20,000 in-kind prize (South Florida Sunday interview, 3-week PSA campaign) for the most unique donors

  • Brought in more unique gifts than any other participating organisation by far (second place had nearly 70 fewer gifts)