Fauna & Flora International: Testing always-on digital fundraising

Exhibited by
Gemma Reeve
Added
October 15, 2020
Medium of Communication
Digital
Target Audience
New donors
Type of Charity
Environmental, conservation
Country of Origin
UK
Date of first appearance
March 2020

SOFII’s view

This case study shows that good preparation is essential to the success of an appeal. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Manifesto worked together on a digital acquisition campaign. This involved meticulous planning and communication, including a pilot that demonstrated how effective the campaign could be. Using the latest digital technology they were able to reach out to donors more accurately through platforms such as Google and Facebook. The results, including the recruitment of 3,548 new donors over just three months, vindicated this detailed approach. 

Summary / objectives

This digital marketing pilot for Fauna & Flora International had three aims: bring in new cash donors, generate e-news signups, and prove the value of digital marketing as an acquisition channel.

Proving the value of digital marketing as an acquisition channel was the key focus for the charity. Whilst they had tried this channel before, the ambition was to discover if digital could drive a much larger, more consistent programme of activity, in an ‘always-on’ manner.

It was hoped that this pilot would lay the groundwork for a new, fundamental approach to donor acquisition for FFI.

Creator / originator

Manifesto

Background

Fauna & Flora International, founded in 1903, is the world’s oldest conservation charity for wildlife and their habitats. Using science, FFI protects threatened species and ecosystems to preserve the earth’s important biodiversity.

Manifesto were engaged to run a pilot programme with the charity, activating paid search and paid social campaigns.

Special characteristics

Pilot campaigns highlight the importance of testing channels and strategies, and show how a smaller initial outlay can build a strong business case for further investment. This campaign also champions the importance of collaboration between agency teams, and those at the charity or organisation. Without direct lines of communication, enthusiasm, support, and the trust placed in the team at Manifesto, this pilot would not have met the same levels of success.

Other relevant information

Test details: Manifesto used a mixture of channels to attract new donors. These included Facebook, Instagram, Paid Search and Google Grants. That way, FFI could reach a broad audience – including those who had never heard of the charity, those who had interacted with some media, and those that gave regularly. 

During the pilot, Manifesto also fine-tuned certain tools. We weeded out hundreds of search terms which were driving a lot of interest, but very little action. We then implemented ‘smart goals’ to jump-start tracking algorithms. After this change was made, FFI experienced a series of spikes in search conversions.

Our paid social activity consisted of a number of iterative tests which help us surface the most valuable audiences. We can now carry these access points to potential donors, beyond the pilot, into a scalable, always-on programme of activity.

In addition, Manifesto put together a comprehensive report for FFI which broke down the pilot in greater detail. It looked at how individual channels performed, and where improvements could be made for future campaigns. This resource informed the strategy and scale of our continued partnership.

Results

The pilot saw 3,548 new donors captured over a short three month period. Google Grants drove 40.38 per cent in regular donation traffic, whilst cash donations were mostly driven by Facebook.

Overall, the return on investment (ROI) across the pilot was an impressive 311 per cent. With every £1 invested in Facebook media, the social channel returned £8.34 for the charity. The pilot also saw overseas audiences donate, despite spend largely focusing on the UK.

Merits

The success of the pilot came down to FFI’s ongoing active engagement with the project, and the trust placed with the team at Manifesto. This and the direct lines of communication between FFI and Manifesto, allowed us to develop the campaigns in-flight very quickly, adapting to an ever-changing message at the height of a pandemic.

Influence / impact

The pilot achieved a positive return on investment, and has laid the foundations for a new stream of digital fundraising revenue for the charity.

Additional funds like these aren’t small numbers for FFI, and if we can keep it up they’re going to make a genuine difference to what we’re able to achieve for conservation– especially in a time of crisis.- Tom Beesley, Head of Supporter and Recruitment Development, Fauna & Flora International.

View original image
The campaign used the latest technologies and algorithms to reach donors.