The Sal­va­tion Army: Christ­mas cross chan­nel dig­i­tal recruit­ment campaign

Exhibited by
Gemma Reeve, marketing manager at Manifesto
October 01, 2020
Medium of Communication
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Mental health
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

This is an example of how to run a smart recruitment campaign. We’re all psyched by the possibilities of new technologies, but it’s not always easy to get digital fundraising right. However for The Salvation Army’s digital Christmas campaign, agency TPXimpact created tools that were innovative, easy to use and downright clever. We’re particularly impressed by the weather-triggered ads to emotionally connect with potential donors. Plus, SOFII thinks you’ll agree these cold recruitment results are very impressive.

Creator / originator


Summary / objectives

The Salvation Army partnered with agency TPXimpact to deliver their 2019 Christmas digital marketing campaign. They wanted to meet the fundraising goals that would enable them to continue providing practical help and support to some of the most disadvantaged people across UK communities.


The Salvation Army is a worldwide Christian church and registered charity, which has been fighting against social inequality and transforming lives for over 150 years.

The Salvation Army needed to generate more revenue and increase visibility of their brand to relevant audiences. They also wanted to recruit new donors to support their vital work. 

To do this, TPXimpact developed a cross channel campaign strategy.

Special characteristics

The campaign was a direct cash ask appeal, and various suggested donation amounts were tested throughout. The advertisements appeared on Facebook, Google and Bing Search, as well as Instagram and Spotify.

This digital marketing campaign generated donations through impactful calls to action, including weather triggered technology which served emotive ad content to the right audience at the right time.

You can watch a video that gives more detail about how The Salvation Army’s campaign was developed here.

Influence / impact

Studying data from The Salvation Army’s previous campaigns, the team at TPXipact developed a new strategy which redistributed budget in a way that enhanced the best performing media across channels.

As a result, the display spend was reduced. This allowed the spend on targeted audience ads to be increased; an area where TPXimpact had identified the most giving potential.

Further to the redistribution strategy, our team made continuous improvements over the eight-week period to optimise donations based on the real-time performance of the campaign. Decisions were made to focus on brand terms rather than generic keywords, and TPXimpact established key demographics and opportunities for scheduling media on the best performing days.

TPXimpact saw an opportunity for innovative weather triggered ad technology to boost the campaign. This enabled the charity to emotionally connect with the target audience, based on their location. So on colder days, the ads encouraged the recipient to take a moment and think of those who were sleeping rough.

By recruiting new audiences across channels, TPXimpact’s results will provide ongoing insight and inspiration for The Salvation Army’s future campaigns, along with the ability to build intelligence-led audiences from the data collected.


The campaign rested on a focus on an all-encompassing brand term strategy in Google searches. This was a change from more generic keywords used in previous years. The result was that the channel became the best performing of the campaign, capturing more than 46,000 donations, with a 40 per cent conversion rate.  

Through redistributing the poorest performing media in previous years, we were able to increase the return on ad spend (ROAS) on pay per click and social by 171 per cent.

Return on advertising for ads triggered geographically by adverse weather conditions was 25 per cent higher than the campaign average.

Overall, the return on investment from The Salvation Army more than tripled from 2017 to 2019 and the campaign achieved 224 per cent of its intended total revenue, with 98 per cent of donations from brand keywords.


Specifically, this campaign showcased how an agnostic and agile approach to channel planning and digital media buying ensured return on ad spend was at the forefront of decision making and optimisation, providing significant growth without an increase in media investment.

It also showed how the testing of innovative technologies (such as weather triggered ads) can drive a deeper emotional connection with supporters.

We believe, now more than ever, it is important to share these success stories. With the right insight, data driven campaigns can allow charities can be more strategic with their budgets, and successful in their fundraising goals.

View original image
Ads like this appeared on multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google.
Manifesto created technology that reacted to the weather to send tailored messages to donors.
The numbers speak for themselves: 46,000 donations, with a 40 per cent conversion rate.