The Salvation Army and DEG developed an email campaign to increase year-over-year revenue on the most charitable day of the year: Giving Tuesday.

How do you maintain your mantra of Doing the Most Good® on a day when everyone is looking to do good? By sending a campaign of emails to specific donors designed to spark interest, generate action, and support your organization on the most charitable day of the year: Giving Tuesday.

The Challenge

The Salvation Army’s Central, Southern, and Western Territories had previously used Giving Tuesday email campaigns to increase donations during the busiest shopping season of the year, but were finding it more difficult to reach email subscribers in a congested landscape. To solve this, The Salvation Army turned to its marketing partner DEG to develop an email campaign to increase year-over-year revenue.

The Opportunity

Having the right email campaign strategy—with the right Giving Tuesday message, timing of email sends, and target audiences—would allow The Salvation Army to grow awareness and encourage more donations on this pivotal day of giving.

In just seven years, the #GivingTuesday movement has raised more than $1 billion online in the U.S. alone.

The Insight

Giving Tuesday donors support organizations they know are fundraising and that provide them with easy channels through which to give. To provide its supporters with all the donation information, The Salvation Army needed to send the ask early and often to reach and resonate enough to drive action.

The 2018 Giving Tuesday campaign raised 85 percent more than The Salvation Army’s initial revenue goal and more than doubled efforts from 2017.

The Strategy

Looking at The Salvation Army’s 2017 Giving Tuesday campaign, DEG found that there was only one email send promoting the day (sent on Giving Tuesday), a standard donation form was used, and the donation ask values didn’t necessarily match donors’ expectations. All of these areas provided an opportunity for improvement. To optimize the campaign for 2018, DEG would need to grab subscribers’ attention early, explain why The Salvation Army deserves their support, and inspire maximum giving.

The Solution

There are approximately 1.5 million charities worldwide, and the growth of #GivingTuesday means inboxes would be crowded with similar messaging. To address this, DEG started with two email sends at the beginning of the month, weeks before the event. The messages drove awareness and included soft asks that urged subscribers to “save the date” by clicking a link that added a Giving Tuesday event to their calendars.

On Giving Tuesday, The Salvation Army sent two additional emails with stronger, more clear asks that brought donors to a crowdfunding page where they could see their community’s effort in action. DEG knew that matching donation opportunities would increase the campaign’s effectiveness, but matches were not available in every territory. In areas where there wasn’t a match, the agency aligned donation ask values with demographic and historical averages and used dynamic email content to deliver the ask which most closely met the email recipient’s expectation.

To stand out in the inbox, DEG’s creative team created playful, illustrated GIFs and design elements to visually differentiate The Salvation Army from other Giving Tuesday marketing efforts. For each send, DEG used the animations to draw the reader in with simple messages that spoke to the magnitude of The Salvation Army’s service and tied its branding to recognizable Giving Tuesday branding, while urging the reader to support the organization on the global day of giving.

The Salvation Army Inspires Donors to Give the Ultimate Christmas Gift

The Outcome

The 2018 Giving Tuesday campaign raised 85 percent more than The Salvation Army’s initial revenue goal and more than doubled efforts from 2017. In one territory, the number of donors increased by 800 percent and the median donation amount was 50 percent higher as a result of the email profiling conducted by DEG.

Now, The Salvation Army and DEG continue to collaborate on future versions of the campaign—strategically working to increase support across all U.S. territories of the nonprofit.

By starting early, and sending often, a nonprofit known for its red kettle and the sound of bells has embraced an email strategy to meet donors in the moments of digital shopping during the busy holiday season.

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