Building digital mobilisation from scratch to transform an organisation’s future

The 30 second read:

We’ve partnered with Refuge to embed digital mobilisation at the heart of their fundraising and campaigning work, with incredible results. Among many big wins, we’ve grown their community from 3,000 to over 200,000 people, raised millions of pounds and won a major change in the law.

The longer read:

The challenge

In our first year with Refuge, we smashed their Christmas 2019 fundraising goals and increased donations by 6,325% during the first Covid-19 lockdown.

But to maintain this success long-term, Refuge needed to build a big community of passionate supporters who would keep donating and taking advocacy actions.

So, we’ve been working together to build an always-on mobilisation programme that can power Refuge’s campaigning and fundraising work into the future.

What we did and why

We work closely with the Refuge team at every level, and our partnership is structured around five core pillars:

  • Strategic direction – we start each year with in-depth strategy sessions and run monthly planning meetings, weekly optimisation calls and regular workshops with the project team.
  • Email list growth – to maintain growth and keep cost per lead low, we’re constantly innovating and developing new tools, such as handraisers, quizzes, surveys and value exchange propositions. We also recruit supporters via direct-to-donate ads on social media.
  • Income generation – as well as always-on ads, we run tailored ads and email appeals at big moments, like Christmas and Mother’s Day. We include cash asks and regular gift upsells in on-page journeys, and trial new gift asks, messaging and price points.
  • Supporter engagement – we keep supporters engaged with frequent emails offering different ways to get involved (not just donating), such as taking advocacy actions, sharing social media posts, going to events and sending messages of support.
  • Optimisation and innovation – we develop testing plans for emails, ads and action pages to improve results at every point of the digital mobilisation journey. We use short two- or three-week sprints to focus on key moments and new developments.

On top of this, we support Refuge with advice and training to upskill their team and help cement digital approaches within the organisation.

The impact

Refuge have described the impact of our partnership with them as “transformational”.

By making digital mobilisation central to the way they fundraise, we’ve helped them grow their email list from 3,000 to over 200,000 people and raise millions of pounds.

Together, we’ve delivered three record-breaking Christmas campaigns, recruited thousands of regular donors and generated a projected 266% return on ad spend over four years. And we’ve embedded evergreen tools and principles they can use to drive future growth.

Building a big, engaged online community has given Refuge some serious public campaigning power, and helped secure a major win for women with their The Naked Threat campaign.

Now, we’re continuing to support Refuge’s evolution as they become a true digital mobilisation leader in the sector.