Using email to drive regular giving with Greenpeace

The 30 second read:

In just six months, we helped Greenpeace increase monthly direct debits set up by email by an astonishing 500%. The secret? Sending more emails using a testing-focused, data-driven approach.


The longer read:

The challenge

Greenpeace has a huge email list of 1.5 people committed to tackling the climate crisis, but they weren’t using it to its full potential. Conversion rates were low (0.016% against an M+R report industry benchmark of 0.4%) and only a fraction (0.08%) of supporters set up direct debits via email. 

Our goal was simple: massively increase monthly donations via email using a testing-focused, data-driven approach.


What we did and why

Together with Greenpeace, we developed three strategic actions to accomplish this ambitious goal:

1. Send more email to more people

The number of fundraising emails Greenpeace sent was low. In 2019 they sent just five, below the industry average (the latest M+R benchmark in the UK is nine and in the US – where organisations are more successful at raising a greater proportion of their online revenue from email – it is 23). With campaigns such as Bernie Sanders’ in 2020 and the UK Labour Party’s in 2017 raising over 40% of their donations from email lists proportional in size to Greenpeace’s, we knew Greenpeace could make more money by sending more emails.

2. Test new tactics and technology optimisations to increase the direct debit conversion rate.

Our approach is always data-driven, and this project was not different. We tested multiple different email asks, as well as optimising email structure and the donate page UX to streamline the user journey.

3. Make decisions and iterate in real time.

Gathering data is crucial, but you also need the internal processes ready to act on it quickly. We arranged weekly analysis and content planning calls so we could continuously and immediately adapt to lessons learnt in testing.


The impact

In just six months, we increased the number of direct debits set up via email by 500% – skyrocketing from 100 to 600 per month. In addition, conversion rates increased by 43%. Not only were Greenpeace sending more emails – but those emails performed better.

The lifetime value of the project is estimated to be more than £1.5 million. Greenpeace can now use these funds to work together with supporters to have real-world impact and further their fight for a better planet.