Collaborative Appeal Campaign Results in 115% Increase in Donations

Champions for Children is a Tampa Bay nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect by providing support and services for families in need. Serving 40,000+ children and adults per year, Champions is a critical fixture in our community, especially because Hillsborough County consistently ranks highest for child removal due to child abuse and neglect. 

Our work with Champions began with our Wavemakers Grant, which provides businesses or nonprofits looking to elevate their marketing a $30,000 grant. We selected Champions for Children as one of the grant recipients in 2019 due to their powerful mission and the great potential for marketing to amplify it.

With this grant and an additional budget, we were able to launch a new website for Champions for Children as well as collaborate with them on their end-of-year appeal campaign.

Illustration of a woman and small child hugging

The Goal: Increase Revenue and Unique Donors

2020 was Champions’ third year running an end-of-year appeal campaign, and they had two main goals: increase revenue and increase the number of unique donors. 

Increasing donations is obviously important, but why unique donors? 

Well, Champions is looking to expand their reach in the area, and unique donors, regardless of the donation amount, are an important part of building a network of “Champion Builders” (recurring donors). 

The Strategy: Compelling Appeals and Cross-Platform Messaging

We knew that a cross-channel strategy was essential for accomplishing both of their goals. We had to put Champions’ message in front of a wider audience while also crafting creative that would stand out in the giving season. 

So, we started with the story.

Developing a core campaign narrative

Collaborating with the development team at Champions on the core messaging for the end-of-the-year appeal, we started with a campaign narrative. We focused on the impact that the pandemic has had on already vulnerable families in our community. These families need immediate relief as well as long-term support, which was important to convey in our messaging to foster recurring donations and paint an accurate picture of how Champions’ services help families.

Rebuilding the donation landing page

After composing the narrative, we split up the asset deliverables across the Big Sea team and Champions’ development team. Our top priority was creating a new landing page that would speak to our campaign narrative and also encourage recurring monthly donations.

We included the following copy elements on the landing page to compose our appeal: 

  • Testimonial: Above the fold, we included a quote from someone who has been helped by Champions during the pandemic to immediately show the donor how they can make a personal impact.
  • Statistic: Then, we included statistics specific to Hillsborough County to show the dire need in the donor’s community.
  • Results: Finally, we listed how donations contribute to immediate help by listing actual numbers on the supplies that Champions provides, as well as ongoing support by showing how Champions provides long-term stability for families in the area. 

Crafting display and social advertising

Display and Facebook advertising were new to the organization, so we knew that we had to start with their main mission — stopping child abuse and neglect.

While we included our campaign narrative in our ad copy, conveying that core message in our advertising creative was key. The copy and creative had to be simple, emotional, and impactful.

Champions for Children display ads

Telling a story through email marketing

While display and social advertising helped us to put Champions’ message in front of new audiences, we used email to tell more in-depth stories to Champions’ existing audience.

In a three-month email marketing campaign, we used a range of compelling appeals related to our narrative, such as listing statistics on child abuse, telling personal stories of recovery, highlighting community programs that make a difference, featuring quotes from supports on why they donate, and more.

The Result: Large Gains in Revenue & Unique Donors

In only their third year of running an end-of-year appeal campaign, our partnership with Champions resulted in the following results compared to 2019:  

  • 115% increase in revenue 
  • 145% increase in unique donors

We’re proud to have set a new standard for their end-of-year giving campaign. Every donation helps strengthen families in the Tampa Bay area.

“There were likely a number of factors that played into this growth, but I have no doubt that the ad campaign and fundraising email copy you all provided contributed meaningfully. On top of the dollars, the Big Sea content also earned rave reviews — our Board Members and staff were excited to see our ads popping up on their screens, and proud to forward the email content to friends they wished to solicit.” 

-Jonathan Goodman, Champions for Children, Director of Development & Communications