How Refugee Action grew their list and used engagement tactics to scale their programme

Refugee Action helps refugees who’ve survived some of the world’s worst regimes. They get refugees the basic support they need to live again with dignity and help them build safe, happy and productive lives in the UK.

Their vision is that refugees and asylum seekers will be welcome in the UK. They will get justice, live free of poverty and be able to successfully rebuild their lives.

The problem

As a result of the European Data Regulations, GDPR Refugee action had to undertake a program of reconsenting their email list.

Despite their efforts, they lost 70% of their list and knew they needed to rebuild quickly.

The solution:

The team knew they had to engage the new audience with their campaigning work and explored a wide range of the functionality Engaging Networks has to offer.

  • They developed a supporter survey to understand what their supporters wanted. This survey tested people’s knowledge of the issues facing refugees and people seeking asylum.
  • They tried different kinds of actions: slight variations on political actions, such as email to target a police commissioner, or tweeting an MP rather than emailing.
  • They prompted supporters to send a message of welcome to people seeking safety in the UK.
  • They combined campaigning actions with financial asks.
  • They balanced their content (a mixture of stories, campaign actions, blogs and updates) with financial asks in between.

The results:

Within six months, they had managed to build their list back up above their original target, going from 8,000 supporters immediately after GDPR to just over 35,000 in October 2018.

At Engaging Networks, we’re proud to work with great charities like Refugee Action who help refugees who’ve survived some of the world’s worst regimes. To learn more about this great cause, visit their website.

This case study was originally presented at ENCC UK 2019. The full slides used in the presentation can be downloaded here and video of the session can be viewed on Vimeo.

Refugee Action Logo

Chloe Green is a copywriter and digital campaigner with almost a decade of experience in the charity and political sectors. She’s delivered campaigns, copy and consultancy for a raft of good eggs including Anthony Nolan, the National Union of Students, St Mungo’s, and Hillary for America. She was Social Media Manager at the Labour Party between 2016–2019 and now she’s Head of Creative with the lovely team at Forward Action. She leads on fundraising emails, UX copy, and all creative facilitation. She’s an expert in email list growth, digital strategy, organic and paid-for social media, and digital mobilisation.

Rachel founded the specialist charity web agency, Rechord, in 1999. Between 1999 and 2012 they created hundreds of different web applications for organisations in the UK and internationally.
In 2013 she became the 'Donor Whisperer' and focused on helping small to medium-sized non-profits to reach new donors and activists and from there increase their income. She uses a unique process that combines the benefits of consultancy with capacity building.
Her clients include Traidcraft Exchange, the Overseas Development Institute, Jubilee Debt Coalition, the Leprosy Mission of England and Wales, Tax Justice UK, The Canary, Humanity and Inclusion, the Anti-Tribalism Movement, BRACE, New Family Social, Arseh Sevom - and that's just the last year.
She also feels weird writing about herself in the third person.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Hannah is Senior Campaigns Officer at the MS Society, working on their local campaigning programme, Local Action for MS and also on social care and carers. She’s worked at the MS Society for a year and a half, and was previously at the MND Association and National Voices.

Executive Director of C6 Digital, London based agency

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Ellen is Campaigns Manager overseeing national and local campaigning at the MS Society. She has worked at the MS Society for 2 and a half years, with roles at Scope and Guide Dogs prior to this.

Having gotten his start organizing with anti-war veterans and working as Sala Labs, Sales Engineer, and Partner Manager, Bryan now brings his expertise to non-profit and mission-driven clients as 4Site Studios Director of Digital Strategy. Specializing in challenging and complex projects, Bryan works with each client to craft holistic approaches tailored to goals, budget, and outcomes.

Mary Margaret Callahan is the Chief Mission Officer for Pet Partners, where she is responsible for leading mission delivery including the therapy animal program and grassroots advocacy program. She joined Pet Partners in 2013 and has worked to establish the organization as both an influencer and a resource within the animal-assisted intervention (AAI) and human-animal bond (HAB) community. In 2018 she was named one of PetAge Magazine’s Women of Influence. Mary Margaret lives on a small farm outside Seattle with her husband, daughter and menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, goats and miniature donkeys.

Joe Derry Hall is a freelancer working on creative digital and communications. His interests include tech innovation, upending power and reimagining different futures. Joe has been the winner of a Mozilla Creative Media Award and the joint winner of a BAFTA digital award. He was previously in-house in campaigning and communications roles at Amnesty International, the Climate Coalition, the Ecocide campaign, Save the Children, Scope and others. He is one of the initiators of Right Way Up, an experiment to create a radical, practical new vision for the social change sector.

Anna Chowcat is the Digital Manager at Refuge and oversees the charity’s digital function and output. Since joining Refuge, Anna has been instrumental in introducing a number of digital engagement programmes including digital campaigns, bespoke email supporter journeys and user friendly donate/campaign pages. Before joining Refuge, she has worked in digital engagement and campaign roles at The Labour Party and Leonard Cheshire Disability.

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