Sneaky? Probably. Fair? Absolutely.
Here’s a tactic you may want to consider - targeting supporters who have recently shown an interest in the areas your competition provides funding towards.
With Gmail Ads (those ads that appear at the top of the Promotions tab of users’ personal email accounts), you can do keyword targeting on your competitors’ brand terms.
As you read this, people who are considering supporting your competitor’s organisation are getting emails from them — and those emails mention your competitors’ brand terms. For example, if you were competing with the Leukemia Society, you could target their brand name as part of a Gmail ad campaign so that every time a Leukemia Society newsletter arrives in someone’s Gmail inbox, your brand ends up in its inbox as well. Obviously, your email should tell Leukemia Society supporters all about the amazing, life changing things your organisation does and why they should check out the impact you have.
So if you want to try to redirect some donations, target the trademarks of your competitors. Use your best performing subject lines (the ones with the highest open rates). And as an added bonus, because these supporters are already considering donating to, or already are donors of, that organisation who effects change in a similar field to yours, it’s likely that more people will click on your ads, which reduces your costs.
We've adapted this technique towards nonprofits from an original post by Larry Kim (Founder and CTO of Wordstream) on competitive advertising strategies.