Micro-Campaigns Can Lead to Huge Fundraising Results
It’s no secret that Facebook and other ad platforms don’t perform as they did in the past. An overwhelming demand for data privacy has resulted in new personal information safeguards, giving these ad platforms a more limited understanding of our behaviors. Apple’s iOS 14.5 update is widely blamed for declining ad performance. The update forces apps to comply with its Ad Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which requires advertisers to ask permission to track users’ activity. How many people do you think will knowingly accept that prompt?
Facebook, whose parent company is now known as Meta, experienced the most significant backlash for underperformance, accounting for more than 9% of all digital advertising and 18.4% of global mobile digital advertising. Advertisers are now paying 122% more per ad unit on Facebook over the last year and triple over the last two years. Facebook’s attribution metrics — user actions attributed to an ad — are off by 30% to 50%, leading organizations to spend more with ever-worsening results.
Luckily all is not lost. It’s time to revisit micro-campaigns and align them as a critical new advertising trend. This exciting strategy sends shockwaves through the nonprofit industry (to those who understand its potency). Designed to deliver new likely lifetime donors, it helps organizations on the edge of fundraising innovation in the digital age to exceed their fundraising goals more effectively.
Micro-campaigns in ads are unique because they leverage the power of AI donor prospecting to develop ultra-targeted prospect lists without the requirement for online tracking. If it sounds a bit complicated, it’s not for organizations that lean into the power of technology. Development teams can now build lookalike models of their best donors both in and outside of the walled gardens of social media. It gives them the flexibility to develop unique lists via their preferred channels, including Facebook and other social media platforms, digital ad display, direct mail, or phone. What’s more, because of the ease of technology, it’s not a manual process, but instead it happens with a few clicks.
Tech platforms allow development teams to build their own proprietary lookalike models based on their best donors. Development teams can then overlay these models on any geographic area in the United States to deliver net-new prospects or use them to score an existing donor database to prioritize the individuals most likely to donate next. Moreover, you don't need to be an engineer to do any of it.
Think of the “Mission Impossible” movies. Tom Cruise's character wasn't the tech engineer — that was Simon Pegg's character. But Pegg made it easy for Cruise to do what he needed to do with the use of technology, and a lot of it happens behind the scenes and deep inside the donor prospecting tools.
So, however, your team wants to target donors — the right donors, micro-campaigning helps you deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time, in the right way. There’s no more guessing or feeling your way through it. This truly is where science and technology meet and enhance the art of fundraising. As a result, the power of the right technology gives you the fundraising advantage you need to expand your mission and compete in a fast-changing world where donors could give money to many types of organizations (i.e., not just nonprofits) for social good.
A recent micro-campaign success story at a university boasted an 88.7% donation rate of click-through visitors, generating $34,970 in new donations in just three weeks with this technology. By leveraging a lookalike model to identify people with a strong affinity for their university, they deployed a micro-campaign using banner ads for $2,750 to drive ultra-targeted traffic to a personalized landing page. With this campaign’s incredible ROI, the university plans to repeat this strategy 15 times a year. It will spend less than $45,000 annually to generate nearly $500,000 and add over 800 new lifetime donors to their database.
Micro-campaigns are proving to be a valuable addition to the current fundraising strategies of successful development teams. And even the smallest organization cannot afford to remain on the sidelines. Technology is simply too powerful and the organizations that make even a marginal investment in the right technology will get rewarded.
Paul D’Alessandro, J.D., CFRE, is the author of "The Future of Fundraising: How Philanthropy’s Future is Here with Donors Dictating the Terms." He’s the founder and chairman of High Impact Nonprofit Advisors (HNA), and also D'Alessandro Inc. (DAI), which is a fundraising and strategic management consulting company with more than 30 years of experience in the philanthropic sector.
He has worked with hundreds of nonprofits to raise over a billion dollars for his clients in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, as a nonprofit and business expert — who is also a practicing attorney — Paul has worked with high-level global philanthropists, vetting and negotiating their strategic gifts to charitable causes. Paul understands that today's environment requires innovation and fresh thinking, which is why he launched HNA to train and coach leaders who want to make a difference in the world.