Breaking Through the End-of-Year Noise by Incentivizing Donations

Overview

Outward Bound USA is the national parent organization of all Outward Bound USA Schools, supporting them with national brand and marketing work, safety and risk management, and research and development. With schools throughout the US, Outward Bound is an experiential educational organization that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through challenging learning expeditions that inspire strength of character, leadership, and service to others, both in and out of the classroom. 

Outward Bound came to Media Cause for support in planning, creating, designing, and evaluating their 2022 End-of-Year Fundraising efforts. We worked with them to develop an overarching strategy and aid with execution via email, social, and creative to help them reach their goal.

Client

Outcome

The fundraising support Media Cause provided to Outward Bound led to an increase in revenue and new donors, helping them provide and enhance their program and engage with community partnerships to promote social and emotional learning through the natural world.

215.6%

147%

425%

increase in number of gifts

increase in new donors

increase in unique pageviews of donation webpage YOY

The Strategy

We supported the Outward Bound Marketing and Advancement team in creating concepts, designs, and drafting their End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign. We wrote copy for emails and social media posts, made adaptations to their donation page messaging, and designed email graphics, lightboxes, and social media graphic templates.

 

The campaign launched on Giving Tuesday and continued through the end of the calendar year with a few social media posts and an email recapping the campaign in early January. Key giving moments included a Giving Tuesday beanie promotion, a gift campaign in Mid-December, and a $60K match opportunity during the final days of 2022. 

 

We employed a ‘surround sound’ messaging system, ensuring that audiences received consistent narratives across email, social media, and the Outward Bound USA website. Given the celebration of their 60th anniversary, narrative messaging and design focused on Outward Bound USA being a ‘classic’ organization with a ‘vintage but trendy’ visual vibe, while also demonstrating the increased inclusivity and diversity of the organization in the present day and future.

The Implementation

To break through the Giving Tuesday noise, we created a gear store promotion campaign, offering donors who gave over $60 a free Outward Bound beanie. We drafted emails for segmented audiences, created social media posts for four different channels, wrote new donation page copy, and designed a new website lightbox.

 

On Giving Tuesday, Outward Bound received 192 donations totaling $23,911, the highest amount in a single day of the entire End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign. Also on that same day, the donation web page had 1,183 unique page views, with 900 of those referred by email outlets. 

End of Year Giving

With the success of the beanie promotion, we decided to dedicate the second portion of the End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign to incentivizing gear store purchases through a flash sale and free shipping as part of a Gifting Campaign. We did this through emails and social media posts. 

Roughly 27% of total EOY Shopify revenue—the largest amount of purchases (55) and revenue ($2,910.37) in one day—coincided with the deployment of the first email of the gifting campaign.

The Final Result

The final portion of the End-of-Year Fundraising Campaign was centered around a $60K match opportunity. We found that using creative assets that showed historic images in addition to newer images of expeditions reached alumni and enticed individuals who had not yet engaged with Outward Bound. We had this in mind when we designed the remaining creative assets. This final push was made across email, social media posts on four channels, and a new web page lightbox. 

On the final day of 2022, Outward Bound received $19,474 in donation revenue coming from 75 donors, coinciding with the deployment of an appeal email and social media posts. This brought their total fundraised amount to $88,987, well above their $75K goal.

The Results

The fundraising support Media Cause provided to Outward Bound led to a 79% increase in revenue and a 215.6% increase in new donors, helping them provide and enhance their program and engage with community partnerships to promote social and emotional learning through the natural world.
These efforts resulted in:

  • 215.6% increase in new donors
  • 147% increase in number of gifts
  • 79% increase in revenue YOY
  • 425% increase in unique pageviews of donation webpage YOY
  • $16K raised from 192 donors on Giving Tuesday alone