How we helped Dignity in Dying smash their 2023 targets with months to go

Our work with Dignity in Dying shows the incredible things you can achieve when you invest fully in digital mobilisation.

Since we started partnering with them in 2018, Dignity in Dying has grown from a campaign group of 118,000 people to a powerful community of over 500,000 supporters.

This year, we’ve helped the campaign hit new highs across recruitment and fundraising that will enable them to ramp up the pressure to make assisted dying legal. By the end of September, we had:

  • grown their email list by another 107,000 people (target for the year: 71,000)
  • inspired 4,908 people to join as members (target for the year: 2,990)
  • achieved a projected 1-year membership income of £173,000 – more than double our target for 2023!

We’ve also launched hugely successful localised sign-up campaigns in Jersey and the Isle of Man. These have so far recruited over 800 supporters in each territory.

Here’s how we did it…

The programme structure

First, let’s look at the digital mobilisation model that underpins Dignity in Dying’s success. It’s one we’ve developed together, refining their strategy and tactics over time.

Their recruitment funnel is based around compelling actions supporters can take to support the campaign for assisted dying. We’re constantly innovating and testing to find out what’s most effective. This year, we’ve run five types of action:

  • signing a record of support
  • completing a survey
  • signing an open letter
  • sharing your story
  • answering a poll.

We promote these actions (or ‘acquisition tools’) via always-on digital ads (primarily on Facebook, but we’re now moving into other channels – read on for more info!). We regularly adjust the budget to focus on the best performing ads and actions at any time.

When people take an action, we invite them to opt in to emails. Then we build on their engagement by offering more follow-up actions, ending with a membership ask.

New supporters receive a series of automated welcome emails, before joining the email programme. This includes weekly emails with campaign updates, more ways they can get involved (including offline activity, such as meeting their MP), and regular donation and membership asks.

Our aim is to get as many people as possible taking action time after time to support Dignity in Dying’s campaigning goals and overall mission.

5 reasons for our success this year

1. We spent more of our budget when ads costs were low

At the beginning of the year, a less competitive landscape on Facebook meant we saw very low costs per acquisition. So, we front-weighted our spending in quarter one to get more sign-ups for our money.

2. We launched two open letters which performed incredibly well

Open letters were a new recruitment tactic for the campaign. In Scotland, we launched a letter from campaigner Kenny MacIntyre to the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, calling on him to support the Assisted Dying Bill. Across the rest of the UK, we promoted a letter from Dame Prue Leith asking political party leaders to debate assisted dying in parliament.

Both letters were passionate, personal and emotive, describing Kenny and Prue’s experiences of seeing close family members suffer at the end of their lives. They inspired an amazing response, making them the most successful sign-up actions across all of our projects this year.

3. We updated our ads creative regularly

By testing out new creative variants and refreshing our ads at intervals, we were able to keep cost per acquisition low. We focused more on graphics-led ads, often using simple, powerful statements and colour block backgrounds.

4. We launched ads on Twitter and saw strong results

This year, we started running Twitter ads to promote Dignity in Dying’s acquisition tools. Both the cost per new supporter and the return on ad spend through donations were impressive. We’ve tested Twitter ads for acquisition with other partners too, and are seeing CPAs that are cheaper than or comparable to those achieved through Facebook.

5. We began running Google Search ads 

We wanted to test whether pay per click advertising could be an effective channel for acquisition and fundraising via new memberships. By using a phased approach to test this out, we were able to generate learnings within a limited budget.

So far, we haven’t seen strong results for acquisition. We’ve seen good projected one-year income from membership ads at certain points, but this has fluctuated. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to analyse the data so we can build robust benchmarks.

3 bonus tactics to try

We’ve tried out and tested a wide range of tactics this year as part of our mobilisation activity. Here are three more that are worth sharing:

  • Use campaign wins to recruit regular donors – our best performing membership emails celebrated recent successes and asked supporters to give monthly to help build on them.
  • Social proof can boost membership conversions – when we tested asking people to match the average monthly gift on the membership sign-up page, both the donation rate and average gift increased.
  • Email reactivation campaigns are worth doing – we sent a series of four emails, including a survey, to people who had been inactive for 12 months. As a result, 8,502 people (5.83% of recipients) took action, and 40 even became regular givers. We also ran a membership reactivation campaign which saw 2.12% of lapsed members who received our survey rejoin as regular givers.

A winning approach

The successes we’ve seen with Dignity in Dying this year were possible because of the strong mobilisation programme we’ve built together, plus a commitment to:

  • prioritising innovation, testing and learning
  • using data and analytics to guide our decision-making
  • being flexible to take advantage of new opportunities.

Want to know how we could help your organisation use a digital mobilisation approach to smash recruitment and fundraising targets? We’d love to talk – just get in touch.