Unlocking the Power of 2-Step Campaigns

24 Jun 2024

We recently sat down with Jon Dawson from Digital Ninjas to talk through 2-Step digital acquisition campaigns. Jon and his team have run many of these campaigns successfully for charities all over Australia and he has the inside info about the crucial elements needed, what to avoid, average conversion rates and more.

What are 2-step campaigns?

2-step campaigns are a strategic fundraising approach that involves breaking the donation process into two distinct steps. The first step typically involves engaging potential donors in a value-add exchange, usually through digital channels. This might be offering a quiz, survey, petition, or exclusive downloadable resource to capture their interest and gather relevant information. Once individuals have shown initial interest or engagement, the second step entails personalised follow-up to nurture the relationship and ultimately convert them to donors. Follow up can be via digital channels, but it’s generally most effective via telefundraising. 

These campaigns aren’t new by any stretch, but they continue to prove to be an effective acquisition strategy. I think the underlying benefit of these campaigns is that it gives you the benefits of scaling digitally, while also having that personal engagement and storytelling with the supporter,” Jon shares. “Most charities want to scale digital, but this isn’t so easy in isolation. Digital has a number of downsides in that yes, you can get traffic and you can reach people who care about your cause, but then to actually interface and engage with them in a meaningful way is far more challenging.” That’s where the beauty of a 2-step campaign comes in - it combines the best of both worlds. 

“Step one of your campaign, the value-add exchange, gives you the opted-in digital journey where people are warmed up to your cause. Then the second step is the nurturing journey and the two-way conversation with human interaction that takes place to present the cause in a way that makes sense to that individual. The key here is that a telefundraiser can change pitch dynamically according to the response they get, which is far more difficult to do through digital.” 

2-step examples

Jon says some of his favourite 2-step campaigns he’s seen are those from UNICEF Australia and Mission Australia. The former targets parents of young children with offers of valuable resources that feel highly personal - a breastfeeding guide has proven popular, or early childhood development materials. The latter offers guides about topical social issues, specifically how to talk to young children about homelessness. On the Funraisin platform, Auckland City Mission recently launched an urgent appeal which includes a petition as the first step with a CTA to donate once the petition has been signed, and Digital Ninjas have just rolled out a 2-step quiz to donate campaign with Autism WA.

Key components

Developing a successful 2-step campaign requires careful planning and execution. Charities must leverage existing content and audience data to determine the first step of the campaign, ensuring that it offers value and resonates with potential donors. Balancing the effort required for development with the potential impact on donor engagement is essential in crafting impactful campaigns that drive results.

2-step lifespans

It’s important to be aware of lifespan and seasonality when considering a new 2-step campaign. At the minimum, Jon says charities should be aiming for a 3 month lifespan with the potential to extend this if performance is going well. That means it’s going to generally be best to avoid campaigns based on specific days of the year (think international World Days, Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) as you can’t be in the market for long enough. Lifespan is often much shorter than it could be simply because of limited budgets teams might be working with, but in reality if you’ve got an audience segment that’s working well, a 2-step proposition should last for a minimum of six months. Jon agrees: “If they're always on, we've seen them last two years and still work, even if you see changes in creative performance and how the algorithms get your message out there.” 

Average conversion rates

Of course every campaign and charity is unique, but Jon has some fascinating insights into conversion rates that charities can generally expect to see in 2-step campaigns. Over the years these have unfortunately declined - “You used to be able to easily generate leads. Going back 14 or so years, $1 per lead would be the going rate and you could generate them all day long. These days, the cost per lead is anywhere between $5 and $14 depending on the composition of the audience and other factors.”  Looking then to the tele-fundraising contact rates, Jon says if you're talking to anywhere near half of the people that submitted a lead, you're doing really well. Across the board the standard would more likely be between 35% to 45% contact rate. “10 years ago we’d see 60% to 80% percent contact rate, but this is just a behavioral thing that people pick up the phone less these days.” 

The majority of charities running 2-step campaigns are aiming to convert leads to regular givers. In Jon’s experience, of those leads who are successfully contacted, between 5% and 10% should convert to an RG. “That’s the benchmark for an in-house lead gen program. If it's an external third-party data source, you probably see conversion rates at less than 5%.” 

Challenges and considerations

Despite their effectiveness, 2-step campaigns come with their own set of challenges. They require a significant investment of time (to develop a first step that is genuinely valuable to your audience) and money (think telefundraising, Google and Facebook - that cost per acquisition does not come cheap). However, the high quality of the converted donor and the potential for long-term support justify the effort. As Jon says, “it's not so much a quick win, but it should be taken alongside the expectations for face-to-face, that there's a long-term relationship that you might be building with your supporters who are opting in.” In his experience, regular donors recruited via 2-step fundraising deliver significantly better retention than those recruited via face to face. 

So how can we get started?

2-step campaigns provide a powerful tool in the arsenal of digital fundraisers, offering a strategic approach to engage donors and drive meaningful impact. By leveraging the scalability of digital channels alongside highly personalised follow ups, charities can unlock new avenues for donor engagement and support, ultimately raising more money for their causes. In this sometimes challenging post-covid world, charities are being forced to evolve and embrace new strategies to keep up with ever-growing targets. A digital 2-step campaign could be just the ticket you’re looking for.

Want to talk through how you can easily get a 2-step campaign set up on Funraisin? Get in touch with us for a chat today.

Jon Dawson, Digital Ninjas

Digital Ninjas are helping organisations to make the world a better place. They work with clients usually in an end to end capacity, helping with the ideation, creative and proposition development, landing page, email journey builds, and tele-fundraising agency to build out scripts and provide training. Find Jon on LinkedIn.

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