How do you drive long-term growth?

One of the world’s largest charities, UNICEF supports children in more than 190 countries and territories and believes that every child, no matter where they live, deserves a safe and healthy childhood. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF, which aids the organization’s global work through fundraising, advocacy and education, came to Blue State Digital seeking transformative growth in its digital program.

We worked with the U.S. Fund team to outline an ambitious new strategy, creative vision, and tech infrastructure designed to drive exponential long-term growth. Our work took a two-pronged approach: create diverse storytelling and engagement campaigns (beyond simple fundraising asks) and work towards engaging supporters (new and old) in individualized journeys based on their interests and behaviors.

The results? We almost tripled fundraising revenue from email alone in the first year and a half.

BSD U.S. Fund for UNICEF Case Study

Acquiring supporters of the future

Users expect more personalized and frictionless digital interactions, so we set out to design tailored, dynamic experiences to match the many unique supporter motivations, entry points, and donor journeys. We segmented the U.S. Fund’s audience and developed messaging plans around three proven themes: painting a picture of progress to show users the magnitude of their impact, highlighting UNICEF’s commitment to transparency by showcasing how donations make a difference, and demonstrating that UNICEF is a genuinely innovative organization helping children in a modern world in modern ways.

Telling a more positive story

We shifted the tone of UNICEF’s emails to strike a balance between urgency and progress and varied the cadence between engagement and ask. Tales of inspiration and success replaced stories of suffering, as we focused on real world impact by showing donors where dollars go. For example, a test asking users to donate $40 or buy eight mosquito nets revealed that people overwhelmingly prefer to give tangible gifts that save lives.

US Fund for UNICEF Quiz

Making the most of moments

By exploring new themes, we found that advocacy around hot-button issues such as vaccinations helped recruit new audiences. Quizzes and games helped deepen engagement and shift the focus to the user and giver. Detailed communications planning enabled us to continuously roll out these programs in-between responses to holidays and current events such as Mother’s Day and Giving Tuesday. In the absence of such moments, we created our own in the form of flash campaigns, matching gifts offers, and more.

US Fund Marketing Case Study

Responding to a crisis

Organizing our teams and assets to capitalize on big moments when they happen is integral to collective success. In April 2015, when two powerful earthquakes in Nepal claimed thousands of lives and more than one million children needed immediate humanitarian aid, our challenge was simple—go out and raise as much money as possible before this moment got lost in the news cycle and forgotten. Through just two rapid response emails and a non-opener resend after both earthquakes, in addition to some speedily executed paid media efforts on Facebook, we were able to raise over $1.5 million on digital to quickly help the children of Nepal.

Optimizing everything

BSD created a new visual language for UNICEF’s emails, and every element was tested and optimized for action including templates, colors, fonts, CTAs, positive vs. negative imagery, tone of voice, sender name, time, cadence, matches vs. deadline, and personalization. Our relentless focus on measuring and creative, real-time testing and optimization helped increase ROI exponentially.

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