Growing The Lab's Yearly Fundraising Revenue by 10x

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Case Study: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

We have partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology since 2012 to build their online fundraising efforts through targeted content, email list growth, and donor segmentation. As a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds, we seek to advance the Lab’s mission with a multi-touchpoint online fundraising strategy, focusing on engaging and activating individuals who love birds through aggressive content marketing that inspires passion.

Year after year, the Lab has been able to increase online fundraising numbers by growing their email list and inspiring current supporters to give. The Lab has a wealth of great content that inspires a shared love of birds and highlights the critical importance of bird conservation.

To capitalize on their existing supporter base, we leverage a cross-channel approach that brings the Lab’s targeted appeals to audiences based on their interest – in their email inbox, their social news feeds, and on the Cornell website as they engage with key birding content.

Our strategy hinges on community growth and consists of three parts:

1
Multi-platform growth and engagement

2
Landing page and website optimization

3
Targeted fundraising appeals through list segmentation

Since 2012, we have generated over $16 million in revenue for the Lab, growing from $400,000 to nearly $4 million in 7 years.

$3.8 million

Total raised in FY19

10x

Increase in fundraising revenue since 2012

2.1 million

Emails on active file in FY19

“Media Cause's thoughtful, data-driven strategies have helped the Cornell Lab grow its email list and soar beyond its online fundraising goals year over year.”

Melissa Tinklepaugh, Manager of Online Fundraising, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Strategy

Build & Engage Communities

Our clients need help to change the world. Getting the right supporters on their side, and keeping them involved with the mission is critical to creating impact.

Multi-Touchpoint Campaigns

Momentum matters. When we need supporters to take action, we strive to meet them where they are—on their twitter feed, in their inbox or chatting with their friends.

Targeted Fundraising

Fundraising works best if conversations happen 1:1. Digitally, we get as close as we can by targeting donors based on key attributes and actions.

Implementation

  • Build & Engage Communities

    Utilizing a combination of search advertising and paid social advertising, we seek to attract users looking for birding content by driving them to landing pages containing tailored content and optimized for lead capture. As a result, we are have been able to convert an already interested audience to the Lab’s community in huge numbers. Combined with a long-term communications flow via multiple platforms, we have seen an increase in the likelihood of turning supporters into donors.

  • Multi-Touchpoint Campaigns

    By reaching supporters on the right platform with the right message at the right time, we have been able to grow the Lab’s email file and scale fundraising efforts as a result. Leveraging a multi-touchpoint approach including search advertising, Google Ad Grants, paid social advertising, display advertising, and email, we have built a foundation for engaging with supporters throughout the year, converting them into donors, and inspiring them to give during the most important campaigns of the year, including Giving Tuesday and the Lab’s Big Day campaign.

  • Targeted Fundraising

    Year after year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has been able to increase online fundraising numbers by growing and strategically segmenting their email list. By growing their community of supporters throughout the year and segmenting them based on their interests and donation history, the Lab is well positioned to send targeted appeals to their supporters based on what messaging will resonate best. While the Lab’s fundraising strategy is centered around engaging email content, our cross-channel approach brings the Lab’s targeted appeals to users across multiple platforms, meeting supporters where they are when they are ready to give.

Results

Long-term investment works.

 

We have achieved strong success by leveraging the Lab’s tremendous wealth of content to attract users through search engine marketing and social advertising, while engaging and activating existing supporters on multiple platforms.

Our targeted approach to list growth and appeals has led to digital fundraising growth of almost 10X from 2012 to 2019, going from yearly revenue of $400,000 to nearly $4 million over the course of 7 years. Email list size has increased at a similar rate.

Ready to drive growth and impact through digital strategies?

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