Case Study

How Greenpeace Canada Improved Monthly Giving by 332%


The Story

Since 2018, Greenpeace Canada has run a monthly donor acquisition campaign. They refine their tactics and improve results each year. In February 2020, they were more ambitious and more successful than ever before. In just one month, they sent eight emails and acquired 808 new monthly donors.

The Process of Acquiring Monthly Donors

With a goal and timeline both set, Greenpeace needed a strong narrative and a strategy for their campaign.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, they leaned into their brand identity and decided to speak to their supporters the best way they knew how: openly and honestly through email.

Email is one of the most powerful digital tools that we have. – Miriam Wilson, Digital Fundraising & Engagement Manager at Greenpeace Canada

After Miriam’s experience as a digital campaigner trying to cut through the noise on social media, she knew email was the most effective and versatile digital fundraising tool they had.

Developing the email marketing campaign

She laid out a content plan for a few key emails, but with social, economic and political landscapes evolving quickly, Miriam knew it was necessary to be able to write emails in real-time. This allowed for content that reflected changing government decisions on environmental issues and resonated more deeply with supporters.

“You have their attention for about 2-7 seconds,” says Miriam. So it’s important that your email marketing makes an impact and drives a supporter to take action right away with compelling, urgent and relevant messaging.

“Our goal with every email is to minimize unsubscribes and maximize conversions” says Miriam.

To achieve this, Greenpeace used email segmentation to generate customized content that acknowledged each supporter’s unique giving history.

Segmentation is important for the personalization of emails but it’s also crucial for understanding performance results. You might think it’s too aggressive to ask a recent donor to give twice in 30 days. Through segmentation, Greenpeace not only found that this group was willing to donate again and to convert their gift to a recurring donation. They also discovered the specific messages types that resonated the strongest.

Similarly, they learned that their non-donor segment responded best to emails covering campaign issues, such as ocean health and the tar sands. It’s not just the conversions that make this campaign a success, but also the insights that can be funneled into future actions.

The Results of this Email Marketing Campaign

Acquiring 808 new monthly donors this year, Greenpeace Canada improved their monthly-giving-campaign results by 332% since 2018. They not only proved that an ambitious, bilingual, eight-email marketing campaign is possible but that it’s a powerful way to acquire new monthly donors.

Greenpeace Canada ran another monthly giving push for #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5 2020 and acquired over 160 new monthly donors. This shows that during a global pandemic many people are still ready and willing to give, although messaging and tone will need to be sensitive and adapted to the context. – Miriam Wilson, Digital Fundraising & Engagement Manager at Greenpeace Canada

The Lessons Learned in this Recurring Giving Acquisition Campaign

  • Timing is important. Running a campaign like this early in the calendar year allows you to leverage the momentum of year- end giving. You can ask recent donors to upgrade their gift while the cause and commitment are still top of mind.
  • Set a deadline. Deadlines create urgency and drive supporters to take action, quickly.
  • Communicate your goal. Be clear and specific about what you’re asking from each supporter and what you’re trying to accomplish as a whole.
  • Use segmentation to personalize your message. One of email’s most powerful features is that it can be highly personalized, in a way that most channels can not.
  • Be agile. Being able to respond to current events and emerging data will allow you to be more successful. Plan to be flexible.
  • Make it multi-channel. Even if email is your key driver of communication, update your donation page with campaign messaging, add a pop-up to your homepage and promote your ask on social media. More touchpoints and more visibility can yield more conversions.
  • Yes, you can send that many emails. If you have good list hygiene, are suppressing people who take action and are managing your supporter records well, it’s possible to send more emails without risking higher unsubscribe rates.

Thank You

At Engaging Networks, we’re proud to work with great charities like Greenpeace Canada. To learn more about this great cause visit their website or watch their 2019 video below to see some of their many accomplishments.

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