That was certainly the case for our partner Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the organizations out on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, MSF’s end-of-year fundraising returns on digital had far outpaced any prior year.
But when the time came to plan for 2021 year-end fundraising, the national mood was much different: COVID fatigue (and giving fatigue) were very strong realities for millions of donors. Blue State was tasked with helping MSF keep up 2020’s fundraising performance despite this hurdle.
To inspire donors to maintain 2020 levels of generosity in 2021, MSF needed to communicate the urgency of this moment for global health – not just due to COVID-19 but many compounding crises worldwide. We designed a creative year-end campaign theme that would span all channels throughout the last six weeks of the year.
The value of a theme
Nonprofits don’t often rely on a creative theme during key fundraising moments, perhaps due to tight budgets and time constraints. On the very long list of what nonprofits need to accomplish, building out a creative concept across channels is easily deprioritized. Yet, when done right, it offers powerful branding and messaging that helps an organization stand out and succeed in crowded markets.
We offered three campaign concepts to MSF to show a breadth of possibilities. The client liked two campaign ideas enough to let donors decide via in-market testing.
Across testing platforms, the theme “Minutes Matter” came out on top. This campaign drove stronger brand favorability and donation likelihood overall, and it’s what we moved forward with for their year-end campaign.
The making of “Minutes Matter”
This was the first year that MSF ran its year-end fundraising campaign under a unified creative theme. This meant that across email, web, paid social, display, native advertising, video and more, donors and prospective donors were getting a surround-sound experience, driving them to donate.
Our content and design teams got to work to create compelling and engaging messaging and visuals that would serve as the basis for the campaign.
To evoke a sense of urgency with the design elements, our team leveraged a high-contrast palette with bright pops of red as well as powerful action photos of MSF staff and patients in the field.