Seven evidence-based reasons why always-on digital fundraising will grow your revenue

by ntegrity team
April 4, 2024

Your donors have thoughts and feelings all year round. So why limit your fundraising to set times a year, when they're willing and able to donate right now?

Our research and in-market success proves that channels such as Google Grants, SEO, Paid Search, Meta, or Programmatic can and do generate revenue outside your major campaigns.

Yet we appreciate it’s not that simple. We’re yet to meet an organisation who doesn’t want to fundraise all year round. The reason you don’t is resources and risk. You need to be sure that diverting resources to digital will give you ROI.

With that understanding, we’re here to help you make better decisions by outlining seven evidence-based reasons why always-on will help you grow revenue, even if it takes some time and cost to start.

1. You’ll get insights to optimise your big campaigns

We love testing on digital. But if the only time you’re in market and applying tests is during your big & competitive campaign seasons like Christmas and Tax, then that’s a risky strategy.

Pre-testing ahead of peak campaigns means you can test creative, audience targeting, budget and channels, and then apply these learnings to really nail your high-income campaigns.

2. It feeds your algorithm with higher quality donor data

Digital ad platforms use AI to learn and optimise, but like all good things this takes time. For example, Meta’s learning phase happens after 50x events (i.e. conversions). Google’s learning phase takes 2-3 conversion cycles (i.e. average days to conversion).

When you keep going in and out of market with your campaigns, it resets the learning, so the platforms need to start from scratch which eats into time and budget. With an always-on campaign, you can gather important learnings and apply them to the next month, so you can optimise, build and scale.

3. It helps you build new audiences

With targeting becoming increasingly difficult on channels like Meta and Google, it’s more important than ever for charities to build their own audiences. When you only run advertising during peak campaigns, you have limited time to reach, engage and convert a new audience.

Always-on means you can build new audiences for less budget through awareness tactics and video, ultimately improving conversion during peak campaigns.

4. You can capture people who plan ahead

While there is a trend towards more responsive donors, our own research around donating for EOFY shows that a healthy 36% of donors plan their donation weeks or months in advance, before you are in market with your campaign. Always on ensures you’re speaking to this audience – often before your competitors.

5. You are ready to go when there’s an emergency

When news breaks about a crisis, donors want to give immediately, often without much time for intensive research.

But we know from experience that even the most organised charities take time to make a decision on responding to breaking events. Those that are already in-market have a head start on those that aren’t. You can activate a crisis campaign simply by switching in new creative into your always on campaigns and be ready in a few hours.

6. It’s cheaper to reach people

Rates for advertising at peak times are inflated by competition. For example the cost-per-mille (i.e. cost for every thousand reached) for one of our clients during Christmas was $31.92, compared to $17.49 during non-peak. Having always-on is much more cost effective and efficient in the long run, allowing you to reach and convert more for less.

7. You can quickly spot developing trends

An always-on approach often connects you in real time to what’s happening in the market. You’re able to see trends developing, and test them quickly. This gives you rich real-time performance metrics that help you improve results in the long-term.

Some parting words: A caveat…

It’s tempting to get caught up in all the hype and new features of digital platforms. To truly get the most out of your always-on campaign, remember who your master is. It’s not the platform or the data, it’s your donor. Use the technology and creative to show your donors that you understand their concerns and their needs. Show them how your organisation is helping them solve the biggest problems in their world, and how you can help them make a difference.