And the Winners Are … the 2014 FundRaising Success Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence
Number of recipients/response rate: Varies according to channel
Total cost: $220,046
Income generated: $8,981,596
Average gift: $147.72
Cost to raise a dollar: $0.02
You just can’t underestimate the power to testing, and this effort by CDR for the Wounded Warrior Project bears out that truth. Like many organizations, WWP saw a significant change in performance of its Google grant in 2013. The grant, which had previously been used to drive year-end giving, could only serve as a supplement to paid advertising. With this in mind, WWP sought to capitalize on year-end fundraising by testing into new control messaging before year-end giving was in full swing. This testing was able to put WWP in the best possible position in the final weeks of December when its investment would be the highest and had the greatest potential for return.
The organization tackled this issue with a multichannel effort, the hallmark of which was powerful imagery that remained consistent across channels. Extensive testing via email was done early in the season to inform strategy during the final weeks of December and then again in December to chart a course for 2014. WWP also tested eight different sets of ad creative over the course of the year-end period, ensuring that controls were identified by the height of the giving season; the testing was structured like a domino effect, with results of each test informing the next stage of testing.
WWP had to invest more funds than had previously been used in this campaign due to declining performance of the Google grant and a general decline in email response across the sector. But the testing created a data-driven strategy that ensured the best possible performance. More than 14,648,921 impressions were served from the Google Grants, paid search engine marketing and remarketing campaigns, and a new evergreen control SEM ad was identified; 57 different emails were sent with an average 15.87 percent open rate, 5.92 percent clickthrough rate and .07 percent conversion rate; and $9 million in gross revenue was raised through 60,952 gifts at an average of $147.72. That represents a 224 percent increase in giving over the same period in 2012.