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Heifer International

Taking a successful fundraising program to the next level

The Challenge

Heifer International came to us in 2013 with a question: How do you scale and grow a fundraising program year-over-year?

The Insight

Testing will generally result in incremental revenue, but engaging content combined with high-impact testing as the core of a large-scale digital fundraising strategy will produce substantial growth.

The Solution

We significantly increased Heifer International’s email fundraising revenue for five straight years.

Heifer International, an organization focused on bringing sustainable sources of food and income in the form of livestock and training to the world’s poorest, had a successful fundraising strategy — but they wanted to increase year-over-year growth.

We worked with the organization to cultivate a more meaningfully engaged community, ready to regularly support the group’s mission.

We used storytelling and engaging content to draw users back and relentless optimization to maximize Heifer’s impact. By focusing more on their livestock products, putting data at the heart of the strategic planning process, and making the tone more upbeat and conversational, Heifer was able to not only increase revenue, but also change its relationship with supporters.

Testing, on overdrive

Our creatives and analysts joined forces to create a new fundraising algorithm called the Over/Under to ensure that no dollar was left on the table. Using predictive analytics, we overlaid historic and modelled data against real-time data to guide shifts in communication plans and creative. Within two hours of a send, we were able to identify over-performing emails, which provided insight and direction on when to keep successful creative in market — and when to change tactics. 

The new tool paid off: the sends resulting from the Over/Under strategy accounted for 10.9% of all year-end email revenue for Heifer — a significant boost.

Engage donors and their friends

We partnered with Heifer to create a number of custom engagement tools and quizzes that brought in new constituents, and gave the existing list more playful ways to interact with Heifer as we built up to end of year fundraising. For example, can you tell the difference between a sheep or a goat?

Be relevant

By creating a calendar with donors in mind, Heifer was able to leverage popular events that were already on supporters’ minds, from sports to holidays both big and small.

In our first six months with Heifer International, contributions increased by 22% and our end-of-year donation email response rate was triple the industry standard.